DMCIS core interests are evidence-based best practices, competency appraisal, and missioncraft. These interests are defined below.
Evidence-based Best Practices
State-of-the-art in the disaster health sector emerges from inter-disciplinary, inter-agency, and international best practices. Health professionals in disasters draw on skills in clinical medicine, public health, and disaster management. A conceptual framework appears in the diagram and bullet lists below.
- prehospital care
- disaster medicine
- standardized case management
- rational use of medications, supplies, and equipment
- rules for referral and denial of care
- rapid epidemiological assessment
- environmental health
- hazardous material safety
- epidemic preparedness and response
- communicable disease control
- disease surveillance
- special surveys
- health policy and personnel planning
- site security
- urban search and rescue
- hazard analysis and vulnerability reduction
- inter-agency coordination
- medical logistics
- geographic information systems
- public information & media relations
- community recovery
The conceptual framework above lends itself to an appraisal of competency-based, critrion-referenced qualifications of health professionals seeking to work in disasters.
The appraisal of criterion-referenced qualifications in disaster medicine is examined in Prehosp Disaster Med 2007; 22(5):360-368. DMCIS has quantitative decision support tools to assist disaster planners and disaster medical coordinators in their personnel selection.
- The hallmark qualification of expertise in clinical medicine and public health is specialty board certification (in North American health systems) or specialty college fellowship (in European and Australasian health systems). By contrast, disaster management currently lacks international consensus on the hallmark qualifications denoting expertise.
- Competency in disaster health is case-based. Disaster case experience is best characterized by months of continuous, full-time, hands-on field service to disaster victims through positions of direct responsibility for clinical, public health, or disaster management outcomes. Disaster medicine is clinical care in a disaster setting. Disaster medicine competency is demonstrated by clinical outcomes. It is not demonstrated by academic rank, administrative title, needs assessment missions, health promotion activities, issue advocacy, or media relations.
- Disaster responders with field experience limited to one discipline, one agency, or one country are not qualified to speak to inter-disciplinary, inter-agency, and international best practices. There is a limited call in disasters for providers who are single-specialty, hospital-based, technology dependent, procedurally oriented, invasive, monolingual, and hazard naive. Assignments of less than one month duration are difficult to distinguish from medical tourism.
- Benchmarks of language competency are well-established in the foreign service professions and merit adoption by the disaster health community.
- Peer awards reflect explicit inclusion criteria as well as implicit exclusion criteria.
Missioncraft is the art and science of preparing and conducting field operations. To that end, DMCIS develops specific products and services for disaster health professionals--particularly the field operatives who run health projects in disaster relief operations. Key focus areas include disaster preparedness metrics in health systems, rapid epidemiological assessment of disasters, health status of disaster-affected populations, and best practices in disaster relief operations.