European Masters in Disaster Medicine – at first glance the NHS may spring to mind, especially for those who have been unfortunate enough to be entwined in the MMC debacle over the last year. However, not so, this is in-fact a superb, year long European Masters covering all aspects of disasters – epidemiology, preparation, management and prevention – whether they be human generated (terrorist attacks, chemical, biological, transport), natural (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis), mass casualty incidents or complex humanitarian emergencies; the aim being to enhance disaster education, train individuals in medical preparedness and management of disasters, improve research globally and ultimately merge together individuals internationally who share a common passion for the speciality.
Organised by the Universita’ del Piemonte Orientale, Italy and the Free University Brussels, Belgium, and supported internationally by the World Health Organization (WHO), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the European Academy of Disaster Medicine (EURADIM) and the European Society for Emergency Medicine (EuSEM), the EMDM is led by very distinguished and experienced professionals, many professors in Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics or Intensive Care, all of whom have dedicated their time, both academically and practically, to increasing the awareness of and education in disaster medicine.
Having access to the internet is a must for successful completion of the Masters as it is structured as an online self-directed learning tool – modules are uploaded every two to three weeks depending on module length and the number of assessments requiring completion (MCQs and short answer). Topics include epidemiology of disasters, research methods, logistics, ethics, mass casualty management, public health, injury types and complex humanitarian operations. During completion of the modules there is constant liaison via email and a forum page to the professors, to your mentor (allocated in week one) and, most importantly, between the thirty other international students completing the Masters generating debates and discussions.
Towards the end of May, and following completion of eight modules, a residential course in Italy is organised where international students and tutors meet for an intensive, didactic interactive two week course encompassing mass casualty simulation exercises, discussion forums, scenarios, lectures and – for successful completion of the EMDM – planning and initiation of a thesis.
Five weeks in and three completed modules later – the latter finished in between Vin Chauds and snow plough turns in the French Alps and a week of ICU nights – I find it hard to fault the EMDM. The modules, although long and intensive, are varied, thought engaging, relevant and constructive. There is no lack of support and plenty of discussion and debate amongst all participants – whom combined have a wealth of experience. As a chance to be educated in a field of increasing prevalence and relevance by enthusiastic, inspiring and driven professionals, it would seem a shame not to embark on such an opportunity. As for any chance of a social life outside of work……that’s the one sacrifice…………
To be continued….
For further information: www.dismedmaster.com