Disaster Information Specialization
The MLA Disaster Information Specialization provides training and recognition for librarians and others who rely on information for their work in disaster preparedness and response.
The specialization, developed by MLA and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), trains professionals to access, use, and manage information to support their institutions and communities in planning for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters.
All Specialization courses are offered at no cost.
There is a modest fee for reviewing applications and granting certificates. NNLM generously sponsors the DIS application fee for library staff and students who reside within any region of the NNLM. Click here to apply for NNLM to cover your application fee.
MLA’s Disaster Information Specialization to Sunset in April 2023
MLA will sunset the Disaster Information Specialization at the end of April 2023. If you are working toward your DIS or aim to renew, please note these deadlines:
- April 30, 2023 – Last day DIS courses are available in MEDLIBED to meet Level I and Level II requirements and extensions, including the required “Disaster Information: the Basics”
- June 30, 2023 – Last day for submitting a new or renewal application. You may renew your DIS regardless of how long it has been since you earned or renewed the level.
The NNLM will continue to support the DIS application fee for library staff and students who reside within any region of the NNLM.
MLA will maintain the Disaster Information Specialization page until June 30, 2026, the last day a DIS can be valid. This ensures DIS holders have documentation of the meaning and value of their DIS and of their accomplishment.
After the April 30 deadline, MLA will support librarian disaster preparation, response, and recovery in a new catalog containing two core on-demand courses supplemented with NNLM disaster-related offerings. While these courses will be available, MLA will no longer offer the specialization certificate. If you have questions, please contact the MLA Education Director, barry grant (email@example.com).
Advance Your Career and Serve Your Community
Levels I and II of the Disaster Information Specialization give you new, marketable skills that can help you advance your career and support your institution and community in times of disaster and public health emergencies.
MLA contact hours earned through the specialization may also be used for MLA's Academy of Health Information Professionals.
The Disaster Information Specialization is designed for:
- Librarians, library staff, informationists, and information professionals, including those affiliated with medical, public, academic, special or any other types of libraries.
- Disaster workforce members, including health professionals, allied health professionals, public health workers, first responders, emergency managers, community volunteers, and others who play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
See a list of current Disaster Information Specialization recipients.
Level I of the Specialization demonstrates foundational skills and knowledge in:
- accessing essential health-related information to provide services for supporting disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.
- the purpose and operation of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the operational heart of coordinated efforts to address emergencies and disasters
- the purpose and operation of the Incident Command System (ICS) and how to coordinate with government and private-sector response partners
Level I requires 15 CE credit hours of training:
- Disaster Health Information Sources: The Basics (Available online.) 3 MLA CE credits
- IS-700.B: An Introduction to the National Incident Management System (Available online at the FEMA site) 3.5 CE credits
- IS-100.C: Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100 (Available online at the FEMA site.) 3 CE credits
- An additional six CE credits from among the Disaster Information Specialization offerings approved for MLA CE credit or FEMA courses approved for the Disaster Information Specialization.
You have three years to gather the credits needed to apply for Level I of the Specialization. Level I is valid for three years.
Level II of the Specialization demonstrates advanced knowledge and skills in areas of special interest in Disaster Information. Level II requires a total of 27 CE Credits: the Level I requirements plus 12 additional credits. Select from the many offerings those that best serve your goals.
You can complete all the Level II requirements in three years, or you can complete the Level I requirements and then take up to an additional three years to take 12 more credits for Level II.
You have three years to gather the credits needed to apply for Level II of the Specialization. Level II is valid for three years.
Level I and II Renewals
To keep your Level I or Level II Specialization valid, you must earn 8 CE credit hours of approved training every 3 years and submit a renewal application. We recommend that individuals with the Level I Specialization use their 3 years to acquire the Level II Specialization instead of maintaining Level I. This requires only 12 more credits.
If your Specialization lapses for more than 6 months, you must begin the accreditation process from the beginning. Please apply for renewal 30 days before expiration to ensure a seamless process.
eLearning Courses: Get Started Now!
All MLA-approved Disaster Information Specialization courses (all courses approved for the DIS Specialization except FEMA courses).
Applying for or Renewing Your DIS
Before submitting your application:
- Complete required courses and credits for Level I or II
- Collect course completion certificates for FEMA and UVA Health courses (“Disaster Health Information: The Basics,” “In Case of Emergencies (COOP),” “A Seat at the Table: Working with the Disaster Workforce”). Also, collect certificates for any MLA and NNLM courses not credited in your MEDLIB-ED transcript.
- Fill out an Individual Participant Request (IPR) form to receive credit for any relevant educational activity sponsored by other education providers.
- Pay the application fee by visiting the MLA Online Store. (members: $99, nonmembers: $129). (If you applied for NNLM sponsorship of the application fee, do not purchase the fee here. You will receive application instructions by email.)
- Once you submit payment, you will receive a link to the online application.
- Complete the online application and upload requested certificate(s) or IPR form(s).
MLA will process the application and, on approval, send you a notification letter and certificate recognizing your level of achievement.
If you have questions about the Disaster Information Specialization program, please do not hesitate to contact MLA's Professional Development Department.
This project was funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2010-00782-P.