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A Simplified Mass Casualty Incident Training for Medical Students


avatar Michael N. Saunders 1 , avatar Neena Iyer 1 , * , avatar Conor Lucas-Roberts 1 , avatar Katherine He 2

1 Medical students, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan

2 Resident physician, Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

How to Cite: Saunders M N, Iyer N, Lucas-Roberts C, He K. A Simplified Mass Casualty Incident Training for Medical Students. J Med Edu. 2018;17(2):e105610.
doi: 10.22037/jme.v17i2.22210.


Journal of Medical Education: 17 (2); e105610
Published Online: October 28, 2018
Article Type: Research Article
Received: July 20, 2018
Accepted: July 24, 2018


Background: Medical students have the ability to play an important role in institutional response to a mass casualty incident (MCI). However, while previous studies have shown a strong desire among students to take part in MCI response, a lack of training has left them unprepared to confidently respond to such an event. Currently, simpler models are needed to increase the prevalence of MCI response training in medical school curricula. Our goal was to develop a sustainable curriculum to prepare medical students to respond in MCIs by combining didactic instruction and interactive simulationbased training.Methods: In 2017, a group of first-through-fourth year medical students designed and carried out a one-day MCI curriculum involving a one-hour didactic lecture on emergency management and triage as well as one hour of scenario-based exercises involving two mock mass casualty incidents. In order to analyze the impact of this event, students were asked to fill out pre- and post-training surveys.Results: Out of 45 participating medical students from all levels of training, 37 filled out the pre- and post-event surveys. Prior to the event, 17% (n=35) of the attendees reported that they were aware ofthe University of Michigan’s Mass Casualty Incident Protocol (MCIP), and 51% (n=35) reported they would be ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to respond to an MCI. After the event, 74% (n=35) of the students reported awareness of the MCIP, while 74% (n=35) also stated they would be likely or very likely to respond to an MCI. Of these participants, 85% (n=34) ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the simulation environment was conducive to learning, and 91% (n=35) similarly agreed or strongly agreed that thesimulations improved understanding of the MCIP and triage principles presented during the lectureportion of the training.Conclusion: Combined didactic- and scenario-based training is a simple tool to promote medical student preparedness for an MCI. In order to train a group of self-selected medical students to be involved in MCI response, future efforts to refine this training model should focus on the promotion of interprofessional involvement.


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© 2018, Journal of Medical Education. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.