Identifying deficiencies in national and foreign medical team responses through expert opinion surveys: Implications for education and training

Ahmadreza Djalali, Pier Luigi Ingrassia, Francesco Della Corte, Marco Foletti, Alba Ripoll Gallardo, Luca Ragazzoni, Kubilay Kaptan, Olivera Lupescu, Chris Arculeo, Gotz Von Arnim, Tom Friedl, Michael Ashkenazi, Deike Heselmann, Boris Hreckovski, Amir Khorrram-Manesh, Radko Komadina, Kostanze Lechner, Cristina Patru, Frederick M. Burkle, Philipp Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Introduction Unacceptable practices in the delivery of international medical assistance are reported after every major international disaster; this raises concerns about the clinical competence and practice of some foreign medical teams (FMTs). The aim of this study is to explore and analyze the opinions of disaster management experts about potential deficiencies in the art and science of national and FMTs during disasters and the impact these opinions might have on competency-based education and training. Method This qualitative study was performed in 2013. A questionnaire-based evaluation of experts' opinions and experiences in responding to disasters was conducted. The selection of the experts was done using the purposeful sampling method, and the sample size was considered by data saturation. Content analysis was used to explore the implications of the data. Results This study shows that there is a lack of competency-based training for disaster responders. Developing and performing standardized training courses is influenced by shortcomings in budget, expertise, and standards. There is a lack of both coordination and integration among teams and their activities during disasters. The participants of this study emphasized problems concerning access to relevant resources during disasters. Conclusion The major findings of this study suggest that teams often are not competent during the response phase because of education and training deficiencies. Foreign medical teams and medically related nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) do not always provide expected capabilities and services. Failures in leadership and in coordination among teams are also a problem. All deficiencies need to be applied to competency-based curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-368
Number of pages5
JournalPrehospital and disaster medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • competencies
  • disaster medicine
  • education
  • response
  • team
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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