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We surveyed the podiatric medicine professional and academic leadership concerning podiatric medicine professionals as disaster surge responders.
All US podiatric medical school deans and state society presidents were mailed a self-administered structured questionnaire. The leaders were asked to complete the questionnaire and return it by mail; two repeated mailings were made. Descriptive statistics were produced, and differences between deans and society presidents were tested by the Fisher exact test.
The response rate was 100% for the deans and 53% for the society presidents. All of the respondents agreed that podiatric physicians have skills applicable to catastrophe response, are ethically obligated to help, and should receive additional training in catastrophe response. Deans and society presidents agreed with the statements that podiatric physicians should provide basic first aid and place sutures, obtain medical histories, and assist with maintaining infection control. With one exception, all of the society presidents and deans agreed that with additional training, podiatric physicians could interpret radiographs, start intravenous lines, conduct mass casualty triage, manage a point of distribution, prescribe medications, and provide counseling to the worried well. There was variability in responses across the sources for training.
These findings suggest that deliberations regarding academic competencies at the podiatric medical school level and continuing education should be conducted by the profession for a surge response role, including prevention, response, mitigation, and recovery activities. After coordination and integration with response agencies, podiatric medicine has a role in strengthening the nation’s catastrophic event surge response. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(1): 87–93, 2013)