Prehospital and Disaster Medicine

Original Research

Education and Training Initiatives for Crisis Management in the European Union: A Web-based Analysis of Available Programs

Pier Luigi Ingrassiaa1 c1, Marco Folettia1, Ahmadreza Djalalia1, Piercarlo Scaronea1, Luca Ragazzonia1, Francesco Della Cortea1, Kubilay Kaptana2, Olivera Lupescua3, Chris Arculeoa4, Gotz von Arnima5, Tom Friedla5, Michael Ashkenazia6, Deike Heselmanna7, Boris Hreckovskia8, Amir Khorrram-Manesha9, Radko Komadinaa10, Kostanze Lechnera11, Cristina Patrua12, Frederick M. Burkle Jr.a13 and Philipp Fishera7

a1 CRIMEDIM—Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy

a2 Disaster Research Center (AFAM), Istanbul Aydin University, Istanbul, Turkey

a3 URGENTA—Clinical Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania

a4 Hanover Associates, Teddington, London, United Kingdom

a5 NHCS—National Health Career School of Management, Hennigsdorf/Berlin, Germany

a6 Bonn International Center for Conversion, Bonn, Germany

a7 University Clinic Bonn, Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, Bonn, Germany

a8 CROUMSA—Croatian Urgent Medicine and Surgery Association, Slavonski Brod, Croatia

a9 Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Centre, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden

a10 SBC-General and Teaching Hospital Celje, Medical Faculty, Celjie, Slovenia

a11 German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

a12 Clinical Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania

a13 Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA


Introduction Education and training are key elements of disaster management. Despite national and international educational programs in disaster management, there is no standardized curriculum available to guide the European Union (EU) member states. European- based Disaster Training Curriculum (DITAC), a multiple university-based project financially supported by the EU, is charged with developing a holistic and highly-structured curriculum and courses for responders and crisis managers at a strategic and tactical level. The purpose of this study is to qualitatively assess the prevailing preferences and characteristics of disaster management educational and training initiatives (ETIs) at a postgraduate level that currently exist in the EU countries.

Methods An Internet-based qualitative search was conducted in 2012 to identify and analyze the current training programs in disaster management. The course characteristics were evaluated for curriculum, teaching methods, modality of delivery, target groups, and funding.

Results The literature search identified 140 ETIs, the majority (78%) located in United Kingdom, France, and Germany. Master level degrees were the primary certificates granted to graduates. Face-to-face education was the most common teaching method (84%). Approximately 80% of the training initiatives offered multi- and cross-disciplinary disaster management content. A competency-based approach to curriculum content was present in 61% of the programs. Emergency responders at the tactical level were the main target group. Almost all programs were self-funded.

Conclusion Although ETIs currently exist, they are not broadly available in all 27 EU countries. Also, the curricula do not cover all key elements of disaster management in a standardized and competency-based structure. This study has identified the need to develop a standardized competency-based educational and training program for all European countries that will ensure the practice and policies that meet both the standards of care and the broader expectations for professionalization of the disaster and crisis workforce.

PL Ingrassia, M Foletti, A Djalali, P Scarone, L Ragazzoni, Corte F Della, K Kaptan, O Lupescu, C Arculeo, G von Arnim, T Friedl, M Ashkenazi, D Heselmann, B Hreckovski, A Khorrram-Manesh, R Komadina, K Lechner, C Patru, FM Burkle Jr., P Fisher. Education and training initiatives for crisis management in the European Union: a web-based analysis of available programs. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2014;29(2):1-12 .

(Received March 19 2013)

(Accepted June 13 2013)

(Online publication March 18 2014)


  • crisis management education and training;
  • ELRHA;
  • European Union;
  • humanitarian health;
  • professionalization


  • DITAC:Disaster Training Curriculum;
  • E-learning:electronic learning;
  • ECTS:European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System;
  • ELRHA:Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance;
  • ETI:educational and training initiative;
  • EU:European Union;
  • MOODLE:Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment;
  • WADEM:World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine


c1 Correspondence: Pier Luigi Ingrassia, MD, PhD Università del Piemonte Orientale – CRIMEDIM Via Lanino 1 Via Ferrucci 33 Novara 28100 Italy E-mail


  Funding and conflicts of interest: This research was funded by the European Union 7th Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant Agreement No. 285036. The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.