Curriculum as Social Practice: The case of Fukushima

Kathryn Hibbert, Penelope Engle-Hills, May Abdel-Wahab, Rethy Chhem, Ari Hasegawa, Atsushi Kumagai, Pisith Phluong

Abstract


Despite the persistent threat from disasters to human health worldwide, meaningful lessons in preparedness are rarely integrated into the health professional curricula of those likely to be first responders.  Although core competencies in disaster management have been identified, little is known about how to translate those competencies into multiple curricula across diverse groups who must function together in complex, emotionally charged conditions. In an unprecedented collective response, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (Chhem & Abdel-Wahab, Vienna, Austria) worked with the first medical responders (Hasegawa & Kumagai) at Japan’s Fukushima Medical University (FMU) on a project led by educational scholars (Hibbert, Canada and Engle-Hills, South Africa) to address needed changes to curriculum that would authentically reflect the lessons learned. Taking a qualitative approach to study experiences of the first medical responders, this study highlights the role of context as a disruptor to the best laid curricular plans, and considers a collective response to plan for our futures.

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