Evaluating the efficacy of the AAP “Pediatrics in Disaster” course: The Chinese experience


  • Lindsey Cooper, MD
  • Hongyan Guan, MD
  • Kathleen M. Ventre, MD
  • Yaohua Dai, MD
  • Zonghan Zhu, MD
  • Spencer Li, MPA
  • Stephen Berman, MD




PEDS in disaster, pediatric disaster education, evaluation, efficacy, outcomes, disaster response training, disaster planning training, American Academy of Pediatrics, China


Objective: “Pediatrics in Disasters” (PEDS) is a course designed by the American Academy of Pediatrics to provide disaster preparedness and response training to pediatricians worldwide. China has managed to sustain the course and adapt its content for local needs. China has also experienced several natural disasters since the course’s inception, providing an opportunity to evaluate the impact of courses that took place in Beijing and Sichuan, in 2008-2010.
Methods: We used pretesting/post-testing, participant surveys, and in-depth interviews to evaluate whether the course imparted cognitive knowledge, was perceived as useful, and fostered participation in relief efforts and disaster preparedness planning.
Results: In Beijing and Sichuan, post-test scores were 16 percent higher than pretest scores. On immediate postcourse surveys, 86 percent of Beijing and Sichuan respondents rated the course as very good or excellent. On 6-month surveys, participants identified emotional impact of disasters, planning/triage, and nutrition as the three most useful course modules. Twelve of 75 (16 percent) of Beijing respondents reported direct involvement in disaster response activities following the course; eight of 12 were first-time responders. Participant interviews revealed a need for more training in providing nutritional and psychological support to disaster victims and to train a more diverse group of individuals in disaster response.
Conclusions: PEDS imparts cognitive knowledge and is highly valued by course participants. Emotional impact of disasters, planning/triage, and nutrition modules were perceived as the most relevant modules. Future versions of the course should include additional emphasis on emotional care for disaster victims and should be extended to a broader audience.

Author Biographies

Lindsey Cooper, MD

Section of Critical Care, Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

Hongyan Guan, MD

Department of Early Childhood Development, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China.

Kathleen M. Ventre, MD

Section of Critical Care, Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.

Yaohua Dai, MD

Department of Early Childhood Development, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China.

Zonghan Zhu, MD

Capital Institution of Pediatrics and Society of Pediatricians of Chinese Medical Doctor Association, Beijing, China.

Spencer Li, MPA

Director of International Affairs, American Academy of Pediatrics, Chicago, Illinois.

Stephen Berman, MD

Center for Global Health, University of Colorado School of Public Health and Section of Academic General Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.


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How to Cite

Cooper, MD, L., H. Guan, MD, K. M. Ventre, MD, Y. Dai, MD, Z. Zhu, MD, S. Li, MPA, and S. Berman, MD. “Evaluating the Efficacy of the AAP ‘Pediatrics in Disaster’ Course: The Chinese Experience”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 7, no. 3, July 2012, pp. 231-48, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2012.0098.