Role of pharmacists in disaster medicine: Required knowledge and skills

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, Okayama University dispatched a medical assistance team based on the request of Iwate Prefecture. The first team was followed by 12 medical teams. I was one of the members of the fourth and fifth medical teams sent to Rikuzen-takata and Ofunato for a week beginning March 16th to support medical relief operations as a pharmacist during the sub-acute phase of the disaster. As a member of the team at the temporary clinic in Rikuzen-takata, pharmacists such as myself required physical assessment skills to perform related tasks, along with expertise in drug dispensing and consultation. In my next medical team, which headed the pneumonia unit at Oofunato Hospital, I played a critical role in the effective use of medicine reserved/provided for disasters, including antibiotics. Throughout the relief operations, strong clinical reasoning and decision making, as well as good teamwork, proved vital, especially in emergency situations. For future community medical systems, emergency/disaster medicine should be included in pharmacy education. The School of Pharmacy at Okayama University will establish emergency medicine program in the next school year, in cooperation with the Medical, Dental and Health Care Departments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-6
Number of pages4
JournalYakugaku Zasshi
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Disaster medicine
  • Emergency pharmacy
  • Physical assessment skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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