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Proposal for a community-based disaster management curriculum for medical school undergraduates in Saudi Arabia

Nidaa Bajow, MD, MSc DM, PhD Candidate, Ahmadreza Djalali, MD, MSc DM, PhD, Pier Luigi Ingrassia, MD, MSc DM, PhD, Hussein Ageely, MD, Ibrahim Bani, MD, PhD, Francesco Della Corte, MD


Objectives: Health professional preparedness is a key element of disaster response; overall there is a need for increased disaster medicine training worldwide. The objective of this study was to design and develop a curriculum in community-based disaster medicine for Saudi Arabian medical undergraduates.

Methods: A structured five-step approach was used to develop a curriculum. Expert stakeholders from the Saudi Arabian and international disaster medicine communities were surveyed to determine objectives and content. Learning strategies were carefully considered to maximize participation and retention. Particular attention was paid to equipping learners with the teaching skills required to promote disaster preparedness in their local communities.

Curriculum design: The course consists of 2 weeks of classroom activities followed by 8 weeks of e-learning structured within five domains of disaster medicine. The curriculum introduces core principles in emergency medicine, public health, and disaster management. Simulations, experiential activities, case studies, and role-playing activities are all used to promote higher levels of cognitive engagement. Special content addresses the adult-learning process, and students design their own community-based seminars in disaster preparedness.

Conclusions: The curriculum is designed to promote learning in disaster medicine. Given the paucity of disaster medicine educators in the region, student graduates of this program would be able to improve disaster preparedness in Saudi Arabia by launching their own community-based disaster preparedness initiatives. The program could also be adapted for use throughout the Middle East.


disaster medicine, medical education, community-based disaster medicine

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