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Books, Journals, New Media
January 15, 2003

Disaster Medicine

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2003;289(3):361-362. doi:10.1001/jama.289.3.361

Disaster response has been a crucial part of public health and medicine since ancient times. Until World War II it was unplanned and occurred after the fact. During the 1950s a major shift in disaster response planning was initiated with the threat of thermonuclear war and the creation of the Civil Defense Authority. Although the authority was designed for response to war, it was noted that the same sort of organization and planning could be used to respond to natural disasters. The Federal Response Plan, the Stafford Act, the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), and scores of other government projects, agencies, and regulations have fueled the fires of disaster medicine. We had everything we needed except a "how-to" book of disaster response planning or, as it has come to be known, disaster medicine.

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