Emergency preparedness training preferences and perceived barriers to training among various healthcare providers and public health practitioners in Massachusetts


  • John Broach, MD, MPH, MBA, FACEP
  • Mary-Elise Smith, MA, MD, FACEP




emergency preparedness, training, disaster medicine


Introduction: Emergency preparedness training is vital to a wide range of healthcare and public health disciplines. Although agencies may try to tailor their training efforts based on perceived need, the topics and methods of instruction may be misguided, resulting in wasted effort and poor participation in training events.

Objective: The objective of this study was to understand in a rigorous way, the training preferences and barriers to training among practitioners in Massachusetts.

Methods: In August 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health distributed an online survey to health professionals in Massachusetts regarding their emergency preparedness training topic preferences and any perceived barriers and challenges associated with obtaining this training. A total of 796 healthcare and public health professionals responded to the survey and answered some or all of the questions asked.

Results: The results of the survey identified important differences in preference for some topics based on a provider's practice location and discipline. However, Community Recovery and Community Preparedness were seen as desirable by all disciplines with more than 80 percent of respondents rating each of these issues as being highly important. Barriers to training were also assessed. Time spent away from work was the most commonly identified barrier (77.41 percent). Travel distance and financial constraints were also rated highly with scores of 65.48 and 63.71 percent, respectively.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates important areas of agreement with respect to desired training topics and points out areas where providers in different disciplines and from different geographic areas may have differing educational preferences. Even within the limitation of this investigation, we expect that this study will be a valuable tool for those attempting to effectively target emergency preparedness training and structure course offerings in ways that minimize the impact of barriers to training.

Author Biographies

John Broach, MD, MPH, MBA, FACEP

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director, Division of Disaster Medicine, The University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts

Mary-Elise Smith, MA, MD, FACEP

Harrington Healthcare, Southbridge, Massachusetts


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How to Cite

Broach, MD, MPH, MBA, FACEP, J., and M.-E. Smith, MA, MD, FACEP. “Emergency Preparedness Training Preferences and Perceived Barriers to Training Among Various Healthcare Providers and Public Health Practitioners in Massachusetts”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 12, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 85-106, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2017.0264.




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