Disaster medicine education for medical students: Is it a real need?

Med Teach. 2016:38 Suppl 1:S60-5. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2016.1142515.


Background: Disasters are serious public health problems that have increased over the last century. This study evaluated the familiarity and training needs of medical students regarding disaster medicine in Qassim University College of Medicine (QUCOM).

Methodology: A mixed quantitative and qualitative study was conducted in which students in the clinical phase were asked to respond to a questionnaire. Clinical teachers of the college, emergency physicians and health administrators were interviewed for the qualitative part of the study. Data were analyzed using SPSS and relevant tool for the qualitative part.

Results: Two-hundred twenty-nine students (91.6%) responded. Familiarity of students with disaster medicine was low with a mean score of 1.65 out of five points. However, male students demonstrated significantly higher mean scores in certain themes of disaster medicine. Students endorsed the idea that a training course is needed with a mean score of 3.66/5 and supported the idea that disaster medicine training should be provided to the general public as well (mean 3.85/5). Qualitative data affirmed inclusion of relevant topics in the curriculum based on students' inputs and needs and as defined by the community.

Conclusion: Disaster medicine education for medical students is recommended by students and experts, while the applicability and feasibility needs further exploration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Curriculum
  • Disaster Medicine / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Public Health / education*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Sex Factors
  • Students, Medical / psychology*