Symposium 2005

2005 Emergency Medicine Student Symposium

The 2nd Annual Southern California Student Workshop Symposium, Disaster Medicine in the 21st Century; was held on Saturday May 14, 2005 at the University of California, Irvine. This symposium was a unique event that gathered the diverse Southern California medical schools in a forum that focused on education and allowed for an exchange of ideas and information between practitioners, students, and residents. The symposium received an overwhelming response and attracted over 150 students from numerous California medical and osteopathic schools (UCI, USC, UCLA, UCSD, Loma Linda, UC Davis, and Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific).

The objective of our symposium was to focus on major aspects of disaster preparedness through lessons learned from the September 11th attacks, anthrax and sarin exposures, and the natural disasters in South Asia. The world has awoken to a new reality where tragedies such as these are no longer theoretical scenarios, and we believe that it is of utmost importance that the medical profession begins the process of educating physicians, health care providers, and subsequently the general public on the core concepts of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, including their roles as potential first responders.

Through a series of didactic sessions and hands-on skills workshops students learned about Field Triage and Assessment, Biological and Chemical Exposures, Sarin Gas Case Study, Disaster Response in Natural Disasters, Management of Blast and Crush Injuries, Spinal Immobilization and Patient Transport, Hazardous Materials Decontamination, and much more. Keynote speakers included Dr. Paul Pepe, Professor of Medicine, Surgery, Public Health and Chairman of Emergency Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Parkland Health & Hospital System, and Dr. Robert Emery, Executive Director, Environmental Health & Safety University of Texas Houston Health Science Center.

In coordination with Orange County EMS and Orange County Fire Authority, we organized a large demonstration which illustrated the actual field practice of first responders in a hazardous materials disaster scenario. This outdoor demonstration involved a simulation of a three-car collision with multiple trauma victims, a hazardous waste contamination, and full EMS response with ambulance, paramedics, and a HazMat team. It was conducted at a slow pace to allow the EMS director leading the demonstration to give a step-by-step description of all events as they occurred.

For the afternoon sessions, students were able to choose from workshops covering ACLS, Intubation and Airway Management, F.A.S.T. Ultrasounds, Lumbar Puncture, and Suturing, Wound Care and Intravenous Access. These sessions provided a unique opportunity for close student and faculty interaction where students learned about emergency care in a stimulating, interactive, and hands-on environment.

The symposium received outstanding reviews by student participants and physicians. The hazardous materials disaster scenario was featured on the front-page of the Orange County Register. The purpose of this symposium was to promote the culture of disaster preparedness among physicians, health care personnel, and the general public. We hope this symposium will begin the critical process of educating and training current and future generations of health care providers and will allow these individuals to obtain the skills necessary to identify the critical elements of disaster preparedness.

On behalf of the Executive Planning Committee, we would like to thank the CMA Foundation for its continued support of the UCI EMIG Medical Student Symposium. Without the assistance of the CMA Foundation Mini Grant, the Disaster Medicine Symposium would not have been possible.
Executive Planning Committee:
Warren Wiechmann
Dina Seif
Chadi Kahwaji, PhD
Amir Bernaba