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Professional Development

Disaster Information Specialization


The MLA Disaster Information Specialization, developed by MLA and the National Library Medicine (NLM), offers training in providing access to information for disaster and emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. 

Through an approved curriculum of courses and other educational activities, the Disaster Information Specialization can help you expand your role. Complete these free, online courses to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to support your institution or community in times of disaster or public health emergencies.

Program Goal: A New Role

The disaster information specialization provides training to librarians and other interested professionals to support their institutions and communities throughout the disaster/emergency cycle. Upon completion, participants receive a certificate of acknowledgment. MLA contact hours earned through the specialization may also be used for MLA's Academy of Health Information Professionals.

Eligible Participants

  • Librarians, library staff, informationists and information professionals including those affiliated with medical, public, academic, special or any other types of libraries.
  • Disaster workforce including health professionals, allied health professionals, public health workers, first responders, emergency managers, community volunteers and others that play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • See a list of current Disaster Information Specialization recipients.

Levels and Requirements

Basic Level:

  • For those who desire a basic familiarity with disaster health information resources.
  • Take the 5 required courses listed below. See the NLM Disaster Information Model Curriculum for more details.
  • Participants have three years to gather the contact hours needed to apply for the specialization.
  • Renewal requires an additional eight hours every 3 years.

Advanced Level:

  • For those who wish to gain additional training in disaster health information. Obtaining this more advanced level requires completion of 27 contact hours.
  • Complete the basic level courses and an additional 12 hours from the advanced level) as outlined in the NLM Disaster Information Model Curriculum.
  • Participants have three years to gather the contact hours needed to apply for the specialization.
  • Renewal requires an additional eight hours every 3 years.

eLearning Courses: Get Started Now!

eLearning courses are offered on-demand and are available at no cost to members and nonmembers.

Courses required for the Basic Level:

Optional Courses for the Advanced Level: 

Completing the Application

  • Complete required courses for the basic level and an additional 12 contact hours if applying for the advanced level and collect your certificates. (See NLM Disaster Information Model Curriculum for more details.)
  • Fill out an Individual Participant Request (IPR) form for credit, if educational activity is not from the NLM Disaster Information Model Curriculum.
  • Pay the application fee by visiting the MLA Online Store. (members: $55, nonmembers: $75)
  • Once payment is made, a link to the online application will be emailed to you. Complete the online application and upload your certificate(s) or other proof of completion (IPR form) for each course or activity submitted.
  • MLA will process the application and, on approval, send you certificate recognizing the achievement.


If you have any questions about the planning of the Disaster Information Specialization program, please do not hesitate to contact Debra Cavanaugh.

This project is funded by the National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2010-00782-P.

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