The American Medical Association on Thursday introduced a new medical journal billed as the first of its kind devoted to the science of disaster planning and response.

The quarterly journal is titled Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Its first edition features articles about Hurricane Katrina, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.

Health professionals need to study deaths and illnesses from disasters to better prepare for catastrophes, said Dr. Kevin U. Stephens Sr., author of one of the Katrina studies and director of the New Orleans Health Department.

An online version of the journal is available at www.ama-assn.org/go/DMPHP.