April 9, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University College of Medicine launched a new pandemic and disaster medicine elective to prepare students to practice medicine during contemporary disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. 

“The field of medicine is rapidly changing and Ohio State is adapting our curriculum to provide our students with the skills and expertise to care for patients no matter the circumstances,” said Dr. Daniel Clinchot, vice dean of education at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

The four-week course provides an overview of disaster medicine including the management of mass casualty events, the process of chemical decontamination, the proper way to put on and remove personal protective equipment, the roles of disaster medical assistance teams and urban search and resource teams, and the legal, ethical and psychosocial aspects of disaster medicine. Medical students attend virtual lectures, complete online modules and work in the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 call center.

“Doctors often grapple with difficult ethical decisions when responding to pandemics like COVID-19 and mass casualty events,” said Dr. Nicholas Kman, professor of emergency medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “This course not only provides an opportunity for medical students to learn best practices for disaster management but how to manage the psychosocial pressures of caring for large numbers of patients with serious medical issues.”

Twelve fourth year medical students are enrolled in the course. In May, it will be offered to 200 third year medical students as well as students in the College of Pharmacy and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Physicians today face new challenges unlike anything many of us have seen before,” said Dr. James Rocco, interim dean at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “I’m proud that Ohio State is offering this innovative and necessary training to better prepare our students for the real world.”


Media contact: Serena Smith, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, Serena.Smith@osumc.edu


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