Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group & the International Stage


What has the Mass Gathering Medicine Group (MGM) been up to?

In April of 2017, several members of our MGM Interest Group had the opportunity to travel to Toronto and attend the World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WCDEM).  The WCDEM has an active track for Mass Gatherings where our team members presented on many of the Canadian research projects that are ongoing. View the Congress Abstract Supplement from Cambridge Core on the Prehospital and Disaster Medicine web page here (MGM section starts on p.133).

We are trying to answer practice-relevant questions:

  • How long does it take for us to respond to a call for help? (aka, response times for onsite medical calls)
  • How can we prevent unnecessary transfers to hospital? (aka, use of ultrasound technology in diagnosis and triage of patients presenting for care)
  • To better prepare our event medical teams to practice according to the best available evidence, what are the next steps? (aka, proposal for the creation of an Event Medicine Life Support course)
  • What are the most common clinical presentations at music festivals? (aka, case reports on music festivals and patient presentations)
  • How can we improve our level of disaster preparedness at mass gatherings? (aka, use of a tabletop game as a strategy to improve the preparedness of onsite medical teams)


While in Toronto, we had opportunities to connect with groups of international researchers in the fields of disaster medicine, mass gathering medicine, emergency preparedness, and public health.

Following WCDEM, members of our team were invited to present at a disaster preparedness conference in Seoul, Korea in September.

Here is a short snippet from Dr. Sheila Turris, Ph.D., live from the disaster preparedness conference….

So, at the moment, I am typing this message (at 3 am, no less) sitting in the heart of downtown Seoul.

Seoul is a fascinating city – a perfect blend of the tradition and modernity.  Bright lights (this city never sleeps), 10 lane streets (it takes 5 minutes to cross the road), great food, and lots of history.  Oh, and did I mention the weather?  It turns out that if you pair 30-degree temperatures with 80% humidity, it feels HOT.Sheila Turris, PhD & Nurse Practitioner, MGM Interest Group

Sheila Turris, Ph.D., Nurse Practitioner, MGM Interest Group

Seoul is serious about emergency management.  There are wall mounted emergency flashlights in each room, automatic external defibrillators are EVERYWHERE, and in my hotel room there is a hook embedded in the floor by the window.  Each guest has access to a rope with a pulley in order to rappel down the side of the building in the event of a fire or other disaster.  I haven’t tried it out yet, but I have to admit that I am curious!  (The rope doesn’t look long enough to rappel 10 stories!)

Tomorrow, I will have the privilege of representing the MGMIG to present our body of work to a large, multi-disciplinary team at Yonsei University.  The attendees at this disaster preparedness conference want to learn more about mass gatherings and how to prepare for both common and uncommon emergencies.  Wish me luck!