Academic Programs


The Center for Humanitarian Health supports the following academic degree and non-degree programs for students at the Johns Hopkins University, in particular (though not limited to) the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Master of Public Health (MPH) Concentration in Health in Crisis and Humanitarian Assistance:

The MPH concentration in Health in Crisis and Humanitarian Assistance is provided for full-time and part-time MPH students and focuses on health of populations in crisis, internationally and domestically.  These include refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), populations affected by natural and human-made disasters, survivors of human rights abuse, and survivors of human trafficking.  The coursework will focus on why populations become vulnerable and the health issues they face. Emphasis will be on gaining expertise in methods to assess needs and provide assistance to displaced populations and other vulnerable groups. Students will be able to:

  1. Develop appropriate public health care responses for refugees, displaced persons and other vulnerable populations in humanitarian settings.
  2. Measure health and demographic indicators in crisis settings.
  3. Plan food, water, and sanitation programs for displaced populations.
  4. Implement and monitor humanitarian assistance programs.
  5. Identify, protect, and advocate for vulnerable groups.

The minimum number of academic units needed to complete the concentration requirements over and above the MPH core requirements is eighteen (18) credits.

Certificatie in Humanitarian Assistance:

The Certificate in Humanitarian Assistance is open to masters and doctoral students enrolled in a degree program at the Bloomberg School of Public Health who are interested in working to improve the health of displaced populations in the future. Students will be able to:

  1. Assess an emergency situation to identify immediate and longer-term assistance needs and additional resources required.
  2. Identify specific health (including psychosocial and mental health) needs of affected populations; plan and implement activities to meet these needs; and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of assistance provided.
  3. Understand the principles of organization and administration of relief services in collaboration and cooperation with local and international agencies and organizations.
  4. Use epidemiologic skills to collect, analyze, and use information about natural and human-made disasters.
  5. Plan and implement disaster preparedness, response and mitigation activities.
  6. Identify disease outbreaks and to know how to contain them in a timely manner.
  7. Outline the basic requirements for a food and nutrition program for a disaster-affected population.
  8. Use the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights principles to understand the protection needs of displaced populations and to identify and document abuses.

The certificate program requires a minimum of 18 credits. While the certificate program length is flexible and varies from student to student, it must be completed within three years.

Certificate in Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.)

The Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) course is offered by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in joint collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. The course was founded based on the need for humanitarian workers to acquire a holistic understanding of the needs of refugees, internally displaced persons, and others affected by natural disasters and conflict in order more effectively manage health crises in emergency settings. The goal of HELP is to create an understanding the of the public health needs of populations in disaster and conflict situations.This includes the background, underlying causes, and the dynamics that cause populations to be vulnerable in emergencies. Topics covered during the course include disaster management, food security and nutrition, environmental health, health and surveillance systems, humanitarian ethics, human rights and human security, conflict origins, and security for aid workers.

HELP includes on-site lectures with the sector’s leading practitioners and academics.Through in-class assignments and group exercises, students gain important skills necessary for humanitarian response, including skills in epidemiological methods and management of health emergencies.The HELP course is typically offered twice per year, over two weeks in January and three weeks in July. The course is held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland


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