HELP Course

***Announcement: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately, the Summer Institute for July 2020 will be postponed. Although the HELP course will meet in Baltimore 4-15 January, there will be online modules to complete before coming to Baltimore in January 2021. Information concerning this will be sent when participants register for the January HELP course.****

2020-2021 Dates:

Summer Institute: July 12-30-2021

Winter InstituteJanuary 4-15-2021

Click here to apply for Summer

Click here to apply for Winter

**Please be advised you must register for the HELP course within 60 days of completing your online application.  If enrollment is not completed within the allotted time frame you will not be permitted to access self-service.  You will be required to contact Continuing Education Student Services (410) 502-8053 to gain access to self-service.  Your access to self-service will be restored 2 hours following update made by Continuing Education Student Services.

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. For more than 20 years, the HELP course has offered humanitarian workers an intensive training experience in public health principles and disaster epidemiology. 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 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.

The aim of the HELP course is to equip participants with the basic skills and competencies to enable them to respond to the public health needs of populations in emergency situations. These include the areas of planning, epidemiological assessment, control of communicable diseases, information and surveillance systems, environmental sanitation methods and meeting nutritional requirements in refugee situations.

At the completion of this course, students will be able to:

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 course is typically offered twice per year, over two weeks in January and three weeks in July and held at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Instruction takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for the duration of the course.

All healthcare and public health professionals working in large-scale health emergencies and humanitarian assistance should consider attending the course.

Outline of Program

► Topics
► Objectives
► Skills
► Instructors

Helpful links: 

Contact the HELP Course Coordination Team if you have any questions not covered on the website. For more information, visit the Facebook page

Previous participants have come from a variety of civil society, governmental, and private organizations and include nurses, physicians, public health professionals, and humanitarian aid workers focused on health in humanitarian emergencies.

Accolades from Recent Participants


This course was excellent! Lots of great material for my work. 

…it is so well coordinated and the speakers have been outstanding! The content has been incredibly informative and interesting!
This course…. has provided me with in-depth knowledge of the humanitarian needs and the impact of public health in the humanitarian response.
The course exceeded my expectations.
This was a great course!! thank you!
The HELP course was very relevant to my personal goals and it organized the way I look at disasters.
This has been a really amazing course!

“This has been a great learning experience for me. Many thanks for all the special care and mentoring.”

“Thank you for a great three weeks. We have learned a lot in a very friendly environment.”

“It has been nothing short of amazing, and I have learned so much!”

“A great inspirational HELP course!”

“I am now more dedicated than ever to my career in Global Health.”

Back to Top


Emily Lyles

Dr. Lyles is an associate faculty in the Department of International Health...

Read More

Daniella Malave

Daniella is a Research Associate at the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian...

Read More

Mustafa Kamal Sikder

Dr. Sikder studied long-term and short-term drinking water supply interventions...

Read More

Eileen Shields-West

Eileen Shields-West served as a correspondent of TIME Magazine and San Francisco...

Read More

Jason M. M. Spangler

Jason M. M. Spangler, MD, MPH, FACPM is Executive Director of Value, Quality,...

Read More