International Disaster Medicine Simulation Exercise Program


Dr. Anthony Fong, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, UBC



Canadian Medical Assistance Teams (CMAT) is a grassroots organization founded in 2004, whose mandate is to provide volunteer medical responses to under-resourced countries overwhelmed by a sudden-onset disaster. Examples of such responses include:

  • the Haiti earthquake in 2010
  • hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras in 2020 
  • the Ukraine conflict in 2022

CMAT is one of only two emergency medical teams in Canada that respond in line with the World Health Organization’s Emergency Medical Team (EMT) program principles.

Typically, responses bring together teams of physicians, nurses, paramedics and logistical specialists who must work together in a coordinated fashion with the host country’s ministry of health and the WHO to support the needs of affected populations. As these events do not occur frequently, regular education and training have been identified as a high-priority need for our volunteers.



The objectives of this project are flexible, but are suggested to take place in 3 phases:

  1. Learn. The student will take CMAT’s existing online preparedness curriculum, which teaches competencies such as emergency preparedness, WHO emergency medical team (EMT) standards, humanitarian ethics and integrated command. After this introductory training, students will be eligible to onboard as a non-deploying member of CMAT.
  2. Facilitate. The student will train to become a facilitator for a disaster simulation program that CMAT is aiming to deliver in both virtual and in-person formats. Upon completion, the student will be eligible to join CMAT as a facilitator in its disaster simulation exercise.
  3. Research. The student will have the option of working on an academic project aimed at improving CMAT’s educational curriculum. Within each of these are opportunities to present and/or publish their work. Options include:
    1. Design of a “CMAT 101” online orientation course
    2. Design of a “just-in-time” disaster medicine curriculum
    3. A quality improvement project specific to CMAT’s simulation exercise program


If you are interested in learning more about this GHI project, please contact Dr. Anthony Fong at