Top of page
Global Site Navigation

School of Medical and Health Sciences

Local Section Navigation
You are here: Main Content

Prehospital Care and Disaster Response

The Prehospital Care and Disaster Response (PCDR) research group explores prehospital emergency care, urgent and primary healthcare and disaster emergency response. Members of the PCDR research group are world leaders and award winners in their respective fields. The team are actively engaged in undertaking and delivering successful research projects as well as supervising higher degree by research (HDR) projects at both the Master and PhD level.

The team’s research expertise covers a broad range of multi-disciplinary topics including:

  • Simulation
  • Clinical education
  • Disaster and Emergency Response
  • First responder Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Aeromedical retrieval
  • Non-traditional Paramedic roles
  • Resuscitation education
  • Paramedic professional obligations
  • Emergency telecommunications

For more information, contact Associate Professor Erin Smith (Disaster Response) or Alecka Miles (Prehospital Care)

Current projects

  • Remote Preterm birth prevention using salbutamol tocolysis within the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations Aeromedical Retrieval.
  • Efficacy of smart-bag ventilations compared to standard adult and paediatric bag-valve ventilations during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • What are the characteristics and current prehospital management practices of pregnant women in Western Australia?
  • Improving the effectiveness of rotary wing inter-hospital transfers through the installation and maintenance of helicopter landing pads in regional hospital within Western Australia.
  • Does Direct Helicopter Retrieval Improve Survival of Severely Injured Trauma Patients from Rural West Australia?
  • Exploring the physical demands associated with the role of a paramedic.
  • Out-of-hospital immersive birthing simulation training for WA Paramedics and Ambulance Officers using virtual-reality technology.
  • Prehospital Resuscitation Education.
  • Ambulance Workplace Stressors: The Health Impacts on our Ambulance Personnel.
  • The use of technology enhanced learning to improve professional awareness and industry engagement to aid the transition of undergraduate paramedic students into professional practice: A staff-student collaboration project.
  • Introduction to iSimulate.
  • Jess/Watson the therapy dog: impact of therapy dogs on study-related anxiety – undergraduate paramedic students.
  • Long term impact of disaster response on a cohort of 9/11 First responders.
  • Exploring the impact of NGO’s international disaster response on the local community.
  • Paramedic role and responsibility during pandemic response.
  • How do we best support mental health and wellbeing in Victorian emergency services personnel?
  • Disaster resilience in Australian LGBTQI+ communities.
  • Community expectations and utilisation of emergency health services during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
  • National survey of Australian frontline healthcare worker concerns during COVID-19.
  • Exploring the impact on qualitative researchers of conducting research with vulnerable groups.
  • Identifying the health and wellbeing needs of Victorian emergency service personnel.
  • The benefits of mentor-led peer support for improving mental health amongst first responders.
  • Exploring the wellbeing support needs of emergency service personnel.


  • Breanna Spring-Walsh, MBR
  • Brigid Larkin, PhD
  • Cameron Anderson, PhD
  • David Ford, PhD
  • David Kennedy, MS
  • David Reid, PhD
  • Ian Dawson, MBR
  • Joshua Johnson, MBR
  • Joslyn Udy, MBR
  • Kris Bobetic, PhD
  • Michella Hill, PhD
  • Shaun Hannan, MBR
  • Tom Crehan, PhD

Postgraduate student project opportunities

  • Weight vests – a simple and cost-effective solution to improving CPR compression depth and reducing rescuer fatigues?
  • The effects of sleepiness on clinical decision making and performance amongst undergraduate paramedic students: A double night shift study.
  • The effects of sleepiness on clinical decision making and performance amongst undergraduate paramedic students: A comparison study of night shift vs afternoon shift.
  • Exploring changes in emergency ambulance utilisation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Assessing the logistical and operational implications for emergency telecommunication services during disasters.

For more information about postgraduate student project opportunities, visit the HDR student project listing on the SMHS HDR Students webpage.

Key publications

  • Holmes, L., Ciccone, N., Cohen, L., Brightwell, R., (2020), Using the wisdom of experienced paramedics to prepare students for the mental health challenges of the role. Health Education in Practice Journal for Research and Professional Learning.
  • Rankin, T., Holmes, L., Vance, L., Crehan, T., Mills, B., (2020), Recent high school graduates support mandatory cardiopulmonary resuscitation education in Australian high schools. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 44(3), 215-218, Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.12990.
  • Anderson, C., Mills, B., Pooley, J. & Smith, E. (2020) COVID-19: Do paramedics have a professional responsibility to work during a pandemic? A qualitative exploration of community member expectations. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Doi: 10.1017/dmp.2020.212
  • Hill, M., Sim, M. & Mills, B. (2020) An Australian evaluation of free online symptom checkers and apps for diagnosis and triage. Medical Journal of Australia. 212:11, 514–519.
  • Ford, D., Mills, B., Ciccone, N. & Beatty, S. (2020) Does Direct Helicopter Retrieval Improve Survival of Severely Injured Trauma Patients from Rural West Australia? Air Medical Journal. 39:3, 183–188.
  • Miles, A., Hansen, S. & Mills, B. (2020) A simulated night shift for undergraduate paramedicine students: Lessons learnt and the perceived value towards learning. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine. 17. Doi: 10.33151/ajp.17.732.
  • Mills, B., Dykstra, P., Hansen, S., Miles, A., Rankin, T., Hopper, L., Brook, L. & Bartlett, D. (2020) Virtual reality triage training can provide comparable simulation efficacy for paramedicine students compared to live simulation-based scenarios. Prehospital Emergency Care. 24:4, 525–536.
  • Reid, D., Sim, M., Beatty, S., Grantham, H., Gale, M., (2020), Pre-hospital advanced life support resuscitation – a curriculum for pre-hospital education. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 17(2020), 1-7, DOI: 10.33151/ajp.17.757.
  • Larkin, B. (2019). Pride and prejudice: LGBTQI+ community response to disaster events worldwide. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 60-66.
  • Smith, E., Walker, T., Burkle Jr, FM., (2019), Lessons in post-disaster self-care from 9/11 Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 34(3), 335-339, DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X19004382.
  • Smith, E., Burkle, F., Gebbie, K., Ford, D., Bensimon, C., (2019), A Qualitative Study of Paramedic Duty to Treat During Disaster Response. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 13(2), 191-196, DOI: 10.1017/dmp.2018.15.
  • Smith, E., Holmes, L., Burkle, FM., (2019), The Physical and Mental Health Challenges Experienced by 9/11 First Responders and Recovery Workers: A Review of the Literature. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 34(6), 625-631, DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X19004989.
  • Smith, E., Holmes, L., Burkle, FM., (2019), Exploring the Physical and Mental Health Challenges Associated with Emergency Service Call-Taking and Dispatching: A Review of the Literature. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 34(6), 619-624, DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X19004990.
  • Smith, E., Burkle Jr, F., (2019), Paramedic and emergency medical technician reflections on the ongoing impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 34(1), 56-61, DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X18001255.
  • Mills, B., Hill, M., Buck, J., Walter, E., Howard, K., Raisinger, A., Smith, E., (2019), What constitutes an emergency ambulance call? Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 16(2019), 9p., Australia, DOI:
  • Mills, B., Miles, A., Phan, T., Dykstra, P., Hansen, S., Reid, D., Langdon, C., Walsh, A., (2018), Investigating the extent realistic moulage impacts on immersion and performance amongst undergraduate paramedicine students in a simulation-based traumatic scenario: A pilot study. Simulation in Healthcare: Journal of the society for simulation in healthcare, 13(5), 331-340, DOI: 10.1097/SIH.0000000000000318.
  • Smith, E., Burkle Jr, F., (2018), Working towards wellness: Lessons from 9/11 paramedics and emergency medical technicians for Australian ambulance services. Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, 15(4), 7 p., DOI: 10.33151/ajp.15.4.592.
  • Smith, E., Burkle Jr, F., Gebbie, K., Ford, D., Bensimon, C., (2018), Acceptable limitations on paramedic duty to treat during disaster: A qualitative exploration. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 33(5), 466-470, DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X18000857.
  • Smith, E., Burkle Jr, F., (2018), The forgotten responders: The Ongoing Impact of 9/11 on the Ground Zero Recovery Workers. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 33(4), 436-440, DOI: 10.1017/S1049023X1800064X.
Skip to top of page