Disaster Medicine for Pre-Clerks

Department: Emergency Medicine

Disaster Medicine for Pre-Clerks

Location: University of Alberta

12 Hours required; 17 hours of instruction available


Faculty Lead: Dr Jeffrey Franc, MD, MS (Stats), MSc (DM), FCFP (EM), D Sport M

Student Facilitators: Madeleine Kruth (Class of 2026) kruth@ualberta.ca

                                     Shubham Soni (Class of 2026) ssoni1@ualberta.ca

***To register for this elective, a Google Form will be sent out to all Year 1 and 2 students via email in September. This email will include the proposed curriculum and timeline for the year.

Students can see additional information on the course syllabus (Note, this is a living document and will be updated as the semester progresses)


This elective will provide pre-clerkship students with foundational knowledge relating to disaster medicine as a field, including introductory concepts to disaster management; management of mass casualty incidents; triage; interprofessional engagement and cooperation; and considerations for special populations in emergencies and disasters. Students will also be equipped with the introductory skills necessary to engage in disaster medicine practice, through participation in lectures, discussions, and simulation-based exercises.

Topics covered will include:

  1. Introduction to disaster medicine: Foundational concepts
  2. Triage introduction & application
  3. Introduction to mass casualty incident response & management
  4. Healthcare in complex humanitarian emergencies
  5. Planning for healthcare responses to emergencies
  6. Professional engagement and development in disaster medicine
  7. Personal safety during disasters for physicians

For this pilot course, enrolment in the official elective will be capped at 20 students. Additional students will be able to participate in the non-simulation-based activities according to interest and room capacity. A total of 17 hours of material will be offered, of which students must attend 12 to be granted the elective credit, including the mandatory introductory session. Content delivery will include lecture-style presentations and discussion; simulation-based learning; as well as suggested resources for continued learning. 

Students should note that disaster medicine is introduced in the medical curriculum as mandatory content. This elective will cover some similar concepts, but in greater depth and breadth.


Following completion of this electives, students should be able to:

  • Describe disaster medicine as a field and how its practice interacts with others operating in disaster management.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the pillars of disaster management and accurately allocate various activities to each pillar.
  • Demonstrate competency in each role in a disaster medicine response team: incident command, logistics, liaison officer, triage officer.
Additional Notes:


  • Undergraduate medical students at the University of Alberta
  • Students must be in their pre-clerkship years
  • Application Deadline: September 30, 2023
  • Successful completion of this elective will require students to meet the 12-hr requirement over the course of one academic year, including the mandatory introductory session (if students have a conflict for the scheduled time of this first session, accommodations may be available.)
  • Deadline for elective and evaluation completion in Assess.Med:
    • Year 1 - March 31
    • Year 2 - April 30
  • A maximum of 20 students may enroll in this elective in 2023. In future years, this number may be increased.

Priority Policy: In order to utilize all available elective times, priority will be given to earlier applications. Students are to apply as early as possible.

Last Updated: September 6, 2023