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Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP) Course

The Disaster Management & Emergency Preparedness course (DMEP) emphasizes an all-hazards approach, demonstrating that many principles apply to disasters of all kinds, regardless of specific mechanism. Surgical problems and the role of surgeons in disasters are emphasized, even with nonsurgical forms of injury.

Course Description

The American College of Surgeons' (ACS) DMEP course is a one-day course that is both didactic and interactive. It addresses core competencies as outlined by the ACS Committee on Trauma's Disaster and Mass Casualty Management Committee. Major topics addressed include planning, triage, incident command, injury patterns and pathophysiology, and consideration for special populations. Group discussions are based on illustrative scenarios. DMEP requires pre- and post-course tests, which are reviewed on site. A comprehensive syllabus and supportive resource material are provided. The course is taught by prominent Trauma Surgeons in San Diego with experience in Disaster Management & Emergency Preparedness.

Target Audience

The intended audience includes acute care providers (surgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, ER, OR, ICU, and Trauma nurses, and prehospital professionals) who will most likely be the first receivers of casualties following major disasters. Other health care providers, administrators, public health personnel, and emergency managers are also encouraged to attend.


  • Understand the surgical problems, injury patterns, and issues that may result from disasters.
  • Discuss the role that surgeons can play in planning for and responding to mass casualty incidents and disasters, especially at a hospital level.
  • Become familiar with the terms and concepts of incident command.
  • Understand the principles and challenges of disaster triage
  • Become familiar with treatment principles, related to blast injury, chemical attacks and radiological dispersal devices.
  • Know the civilian and military assets available for support.

Core Competencies

  • Epidemiology and History of Disasters
  • Disaster Planning
  • Disaster Response Organization and Execution
  • Medical Management of Mass Casualties
  • Pathophysiology and Patterns of Injury
  • Post-disaster Assessment and Recovery
  • Pitfalls and Barriers in Disaster Planning and Response
  • Understanding the needs of special populations (pediatric, geriatric, disabled)


The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME/CE Credit

The American College of Surgeons designates this educational activity for a maximum of 8.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Nursing: For the purposes of recertification, the American Nurses Credentialing Center accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit issued by organizations accredited by the ACCME.
The American College of Surgeons DMEP Program complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any person who needs an accommodation under the ADA should contact the course site.

Course Faculty

Jay Doucet, MD, FACS
Professor of Clinical Surgery
Director, Surgical Critical Care
University of California San Diego
Jeanne Lee, MD, FACS
Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery
University of California San Diego

DMEP Course Objectives

  1. The participants will be able to identify the principles of planning, preparedness and medical management of casualties following disasters, within the context of the unique constraints of large casualty numbers in short periods of time with limited resources.
  2. The participants will be able to explain the surgical problems, issues and injuries that result from most disasters and the roles that surgeons and their allies may play in managing all forms of disasters.
  3. The participants will be able to illustrate the importance of involvement by surgeons and other acute care providers in disaster planning and management at the hospital, community and regional levels.
  4. The participants will be able to identify pathophysiology and patterns of injury and mortality to be expected from disasters, including natural, biologic, chemical, nuclear/radiologic and explosive events.
  5. The participants will be able to define the goals of terrorism, to relate the history of terrorist attacks, and describe the most common types of mass casualty disasters that result from terrorist actions.
  6. The participants will be able to describe the principles, categories, challenges, and implementation of mass casualty triage.
  7. The participants will be able to relate the terms and concepts that are unique to the medical management of mass casualties, including triage, surge capacity, crisis management, consequence management, situational awareness, decontamination, and critical mortality.
  8. The participants will able to explain the function and structure of Incident Command and their role(s).
  9. The participants will be able to define and classify the response phases and impediments to care of mass casualty disasters.
  10. The participants will be able to describe methods for psychoemotional support and care of disaster casualties, their families, and responders.

Visit the American College of Surgeons DMEP Website at