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Implementation of disaster medicine education in German medical schools - a nationwide survey

Cite this dataset

Kasselmann, Nils et al. (2022). Implementation of disaster medicine education in German medical schools - a nationwide survey [Dataset]. Dryad.


Objectives:  Floods, earthquakes and terror attacks in recent years emphasize the importance of disaster preparedness for the medical community. To best prepare doctors for providing optimal care in disaster situations, specific education and training should start at the medical school level. This study contained an online survey among German medical schools to detect the status quo of teaching disaster medicine and to reveal potential obstacles.

Methods: The deaneries of 36 German medical schools were contacted from April 2016 to May 2017. Via an e-mail link, recipients could anonymously and voluntarily access an online questionnaire (104 items, 42 with a four-point Likert scale, 28 Yes/No questions and 34 with listed items to choose from). The answers were analyzed by descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 25 medical schools participated in the survey. Twenty respondents were in favor of expanding disaster medicine teaching at their institutions. The curricular implementation of single topics like triage (n = 21) up to accidents involving radioactive materials (n = 4) varied widely. Only two schools had established a teaching coordinator for disaster medicine and only one e-learning course had been established. Twenty-one respondents regarded financial and 18 regarded organizational matters to be major hurdles in the future.

Conclusion: Though most faculty representatives indicated they favor expanding and implementing disaster medicine education, German schools still have a lot of room for enhancement in this field. A coordinated effort for a new nationwide e-learning-supported curriculum should be made to establish a defined basis of knowledge and skills in disaster medicine among medical students.


The online survey link was sent out to the dean’s offices of 36 medical schools in Germany. The participation was voluntary and anonymous. The invitation asked for a member of the faculty with full oversight of the curriculum to answer the questionnaire. Preferably, respondents had already encountered disaster medicine issues in their careers. In order to increase the response rate, the deaneries were contacted from April 2016 to May 2017, sometimes repeatedly, by e-mail and telephone. Altogether, the survey lasted from April of 2016 to August of 2017. Final data was transferred from SurveyMonkey® to Microsoft Excel® Version 2013 (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, USA)  and analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Usage notes

There was no financial support recieved during the data collection.