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PBHE540 - Emergency Management Health and Medical Issues

Course Details

Course Code: PBHE540 Course ID: 2830 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course is a fascinating study of the concepts of medical and healthcare issues in emergency management in mass-casualty and high-impact incidents. The student will learn about the planning and coordination--from the national to the local levels--necessary to respond to disasters that are natural (such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and heat waves); industrial, technological and transportation (such as hazardous materials, air crashes and mass gatherings); conflict-related (such as terrorist attacks and mass shootings); as well as the education, training and research done before, during and after these events.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
02/24/20 - 07/31/20 08/03/20 - 09/27/20 Summer 2020 Session I 8 Week session
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
04/27/20 - 10/02/20 10/05/20 - 11/29/20 Fall 2020 Session B 8 Week session
05/25/20 - 10/30/20 11/02/20 - 12/27/20 Fall 2020 Session I 8 Week session
06/29/20 - 12/04/20 12/07/20 - 01/31/21 Fall 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

• Analyze the general concepts of disaster medicine and the effects they have on the human population.
• Demonstrate planning principles used during a disaster response, planning and coordination.
• Assess the emergency management response and healthcare issues associated with a natural disaster.
• Appraise methods of education, training and research to be utilized in response to disaster medicine.


Please join the forums each week. Replies must be posted in the week due and replies after the end of the week will not be graded. The Forums are for student interaction and input should be submitted before the week ends to fully participate in the discussions. Students should demonstrate their own knowledge in the forums and avoid copying and pasting from websites.


  • Post the initial response to each forum by 11:55pm, ET, Wednesday.
  • Initial responses should be no less than 450 words.
  • Initial responses are to be original in content and demonstrate a thorough analysis of the topic.
  • Reply to at least 2 of your classmates in each forum by 11:55pm, ET, Sunday.
  • Replies to classmates should be no less than 200 words.
  • Responses to classmates are significant to advance the forum.
  • All forums can be accessed in the Forums section of the course.
  • Forum rubric is included in the forum section of the course
  • Additional guidelines for week one forum introduction are included in the forum tab within the course
  • More specific instructions for each forum can be found in the forum tab within the course.
  • Please refer to the Forum Rubric for details about grading criteria, late policy, etc.

Students will be responsible for providing a peer response posting for at least two (2) of their peers’ postings, unless there are less than 3 students in the course, where only one (1) peer posting will be required. Your peer postings should challenge or expound upon at least one of the points made by your peer. “I agree” does not constitute as an adequate response. As undergraduate students, you will be expected to provide comprehensive, relevant and well supported points in your assignments.

We all bring something unique to the classroom, from our understanding, our experiences, and our value systems. We honor and respect each person’s diverse beliefs to help us see beyond the classroom to be the most effective individuals we can be. Therefore, we should all be respectful of others while expressing our viewpoints and opinions. Proper netiquette behavior is expected. Any inflammatory, demeaning or disrespectful language in a posting will be immediately removed from the discussion space.


FEMA Online Trainings: There are five online trainings that are required for this course. These assignments are completed at the FEMA website and the link and details are provided in the assignment tab.

Week 4 - Short Paper on Natural Disasters and Emergency Management: Write a 5-7 paged paper and include: title page, an introduction, the body in which all items below are addressed and references cited, a well-defined conclusion, and reference page. You will need to write clearly and concisely to address all items in 5 pages. Your paper must include at least 5 scholarly references (no Wikipedia!). References should be scholarly peer reviewed journal articles, official reports or from other reading resources. Avoid using secondary sources like non-scholarly websites or textbooks.

Each disaster follows a general pattern in its development and dividing disasters into phases is useful from both a response and research point of view. Select a natural disaster, preferably one that may occur where you currently live (but one from the list below).

  • Earthquake
  • Tsunami

  • Tornado 

  • Flood 

  • Fire 

  • Winter Storm 

  • Heat-related Disaster 

  • Volcanic Eruption 

  • Avalanche 

You must address in your paper the following:

1) Utilizing the fundamental principles of healthcare incident managements, describe how your selected disaster fits into these principles.

2) What issues in this disaster would make triaging of victims a challenge?

3) What types of injuries are most likely to occur?

4) What issues may uniquely affect the vulnerable populations (such as children and elderly populations) during this specific event? 

5) What Public Health issues may ensue (i.e., infectious disease outbreaks) and what can we do to mitigate the events? 

6) How can interagency cooperation and local collaboration be effectively utilized?

7) Include any considerations unique to the disaster including pre-and post-incident pitfalls.

Week 7 - Final Paper on Emergency Management in Healthcare Issues: An important component of this course is the final paper. You will select a topic pertinent to Emergency Management with a focus on a Medical or Healthcare Issue – it should be based on one we’ve discussed in the course Forums and it must include key disaster medicine / emergency management concepts learned in the course to demonstrate your overall content knowledge. You must also construct a new approach to addressing an aspect of the medical or healthcare-related emergency management issue.

Write a 10-12 paged paper that includes: title page, abstract, introduction, a body in which the topic is developed and references cited, a well-defined conclusion, and reference page.

Your research should include a minimum of 4 of the following sections below (however, you will likely need to use more than 4 and/or create additional section headers as appropriate for your paper):

  • New Approach (required): You will construct a new approach to addressing an aspect of the medical or healthcare-related emergency management issue you cover.
  • Mechanism of Injury (MOI)
  • Casualty Figures
  • Triage Challenges
  • Medical Response
  • Urban Search and Rescue
  • Inter-agency Collaboration
  • Public Health Issues
  • Communication and Media Relations
  • Preparedness-Planning
  • Logistical Issues
  • Pitfalls

    Your paper must include at least 7-10 scholarly references (no Wikipedia!). Avoid using secondary sources like websites or textbooks. Instead, use primary, scholarly journals, reports, etc. If you include a graph or chart (data), the chart/graph should take up NO MORE than ¼ page, and be properly cited.

Your final paper (and all assignments) must follow American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines for references and bibliographic citation. Refer to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.). Other APA websites are available through the Library.

  • More specific instructions for each assignment can be found in the Assignment tab within the course.
  • Assignments submitted late without advance notice AND instructor approval will receive a 5% per day late penalty and will not be accepted for grading five (5) days past the due date.
  • Refer to the Lessons and Resources sections in the classroom for information about all readings in this course.
  • Each week’s Lesson contains all the material for the week.
  • For most weeks, course readings are a mix of professional sources (such as peer-reviewed journal articles and governmental publications) and “popular” sources, such as newspaper articles, professional magazine articles, and websites intended for the public. All required course readings are freely downloadable from the course website or from other websites.
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.