Improving global prehospital and emergency medicine, public health, and disaster health care and preparedness

Association Overview

Mission & Vision

The mission of WADEM is the evidence-based improvement, education, and advocacy of emergency and disaster health care and disaster risk reduction.

WADEM will be internationally recognized as the leading organization in the development, evaluation, and dissemination of scientific evidence and best practices in emergency and disaster health care and disaster risk reduction.


WADEM was founded as the Club of Mainz on 2 October 1976 with the goal of improving the worldwide delivery of prehospital and emergency care during everyday and mass disaster emergencies. The founding members were renowned researchers, practitioners, and teachers of acute care medicine who joined to focus their energies on the scientific, educational, and clinical aspects of immediate care. Due to the ongoing development of its scope and reach worldwide, and to better reflect its nature, the organization’s name was changed to the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine.

As the oldest international emergency and disaster medicine organization, WADEM members represent 55 countries and numerous disciplines including medicine, nursing, emergency management, academia, military, veterinary medicine, psychology, and sociology, as well as government and non-government organizations.

Focus on Scientific Evidence and Best Practices

WADEM’s focus on scientific evidence and best practices in prehospital and emergency health care, public health, and disaster medicine and preparedness is implemented through:

  • Bimonthly publication of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine (PDM);
  • A biennial international congress featuring keynote speakers, panel discussions, oral and poster presentations, and workshops addressing cutting edge topics, information, and methods;
  • Podcasts featuring discussions with subject matter experts and authors of articles published in PDM;
  • Webinars on Mass Gatherings, Pediatric Medicine, Humanitarian Medicne and other pertinent topics; and
  • Collaborative work with the UNDDR and UNITAR in addressing disaster risk reduction efforts.

Development of New Leaders

WADEM is committed to developing new leaders in the fields of disaster medicine, prehospital care, and the health aspects of emergency management and complex humanitarian crises. To this end,

  • WADEM successfully launched its pilot Student Mentorship Program in which 10 students from 9 countries/regions worked with individual WADEM members on a specific study project and presented their findings at the WADEM international Congress in Cape Town. Students were also provided the opportunity to serve as Co-Chairs at the Congress; and
  • Student membership rates and Congress registration fees are substantially discounted and, when funds are available, students have received complimentary registration.

International Linkages

WADEM maintains an international presence through collaborations and affiliations with other professional organizations, academic institutions, and the World Health Organization, where its leaders regularly represent WADEM and its membership in pertinent discussions.

  • WADEM leaders participated in the development of the Sendai Framework, and continue to work on addressing some of the target issues; and
  • The WADEM Nursing SIG was invited to perform a review of the International Council of Nurses Disaster Competencies.
  • Through social media and its updated website, the WADEM provides current, relevant information to its members on ongoing opportunities and situations throughout the world.

Organizational Structure

WADEM is a member-based professional association. Each individual member pays annual membership dues. The amount of the annual dues is based on the member’s annual income. The members elect the Board of Directors and President prior to the biennial Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine through an online election.

Board members serve for two-year terms, with a maximum of three consecutive terms. The Board of Directors, in turn, elects its Officers (Chief Financial Officer and Secretary) and appoints the Editor-in-Chief of Prehospital and Disaster Medicine. The Editor-in-Chief is not subject to term limits, nor can the Editor-in-Chief be a Director.

All Officers/Directors must be members of WADEM in good standing. A more detailed description of WADEM's organizational structure is described in the association bylaws below.

Association Bylaws