Humanitarian assistance medicine: perceptions of preparedness: a survey-based needs assessment of recent U.S. Army internal medicine residency graduates

Mil Med. 2006 Sep;171(9):885-8. doi: 10.7205/milmed.171.9.885.


The U.S. military provides humanitarian assistance in many areas around the globe. With recent changes in the force structure of the U.S. Army, internal medicine physicians are now at the forefront of providing this care, but the extent of their involvement is not known. This study measured the frequency with which recently trained Army internists provided humanitarian assistance, and it assessed their perceived preparedness for such missions. All graduates from Army internal medicine programs for 4 consecutive years were invited by e-mail to participate in an Internet-based survey. Eighty-nine personnel (49% of those contacted) completed the survey. Of those in a deployable position for >6 months, 72% provided medical humanitarian assistance. Most thought that additional training was needed, especially in tropical disease management, sanitation, and the practices of civilian humanitarian workers. This study demonstrates that military-trained internists are frequently involved in humanitarian assistance medicine, and it suggests that they might benefit from additional training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afghanistan
  • Altruism*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internal Medicine / standards
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Iraq
  • Male
  • Military Medicine / education*
  • Military Medicine / standards
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Relief Work / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self-Evaluation Programs
  • Time Factors
  • United States
  • Workforce