HELP Course

2023 Dates for HELP:

Winter Institute: January 9-20, 2023
Summer Institute: July 10-21, 2023

Apply to the January course by sending your application, CV/resume, and proof of deposit payment as separate attachments to

The deadline for submitting applications for the Winter 2023 HELP course is 12pm EST on December 2, 2022. 

Application: Winter Institute 

The Health Emergencies in Large Populations 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 for the January HELP course, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. For more than 25 years, the HELP course has offered humanitarian workers intensive training in the public health principles of disaster preparedness and disaster management. The course was founded to apply public health principles to the humanitarian needs of populations affected by disasters, both natural and conflict-related. 

HELP participants come from a variety of civil society, governmental, and non-governmental organizations, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement. Professions represented have included nurses, physicians, public health professionals, lawyers, journalists, managers, planners, logisticians, and aid workers. Some people attending have had many years of experience in specific areas of humanitarian assistance, and others are just beginning their careers.  

The goal of HELP is to approach the needs of disaster-affected populations with a public health lens. The course will equip participants with the basic skills and competencies to enable them to respond to the public health needs of populations in humanitarian situations. Topics will be covered both through recorded modules prior to the course and live sessions which will build on the recorded materials. 

Providing assistance begins with understanding the background, underlying causes, context, and the current dynamics that cause populations to have health vulnerabilities in emergencies. Building on this, the course will include the topics listed below:

  • Disaster planning
  • International Health Regulations
  • Structure of humanitarian assistance
  •  Disease management
  • Epidemiology of disasters
  • Shelter in emergencies
  • Water and sanitation in emergencies
  • Causes of Conflict
  • Nutrition in emergencies
  • Mission of the ICRC
  • Food security and livelihoods
  •  Reproductive health
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Delivery of health services
  • Natural Disasters
  • Mental Health in emergencies
  •  Personal Security


The course will also include a one-day simulation, during which acquired skills and knowledge can be applied. 

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

The virtual HELP course

The virtual HELP course began during the pandemic using Zoom technology, and now will be offered every January (The Summer July HELP courses will be in person). The virtual course has the same structure and instructors as in the Baltimore on-site courses. Group work continues to be an important part of the course. Before the course, participants will complete a series of online preparatory course modules requiring approximately 10-12 hours and completed at your own pace. A quiz at the end of these modules will assure you that you have mastered the basic materials to begin the live virtual course through Zoom.

A basic requirement is that all participants have adequate internet connectivity to actively participate through Zoom and to be able to view the PowerPoints and videos which are part of the course materials.

Participants must make time to complete the online recorded lectures before the virtual HELP course starts. The virtual HELP course will require 6–6.5 hours of your full attention every day for both lectures and group work. In addition, it will take you 2–3 hours to prepare for the next day’s sessions. This is not a course to take while continuing your regular work. The virtual session in 2023 runs from 9:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m. on January 9-20 (U.S. Eastern) time to allow people from many time zones to participate. There will be breaks between the sessions, so you can have tea or coffee or grab a snack.

During the interactive live sessions, participants will participate in case studies, discussions, lectures, exchange of experiences with colleagues, as well as apply the skills learned through the online courses. Problem-solving and group exercises will be done in group sessions. The cost for the full online 2023 course, which includes online modules and virtual class sessions, is $1,500. There are some scholarships available to cover some of the course fees for participants from outside the U.S.

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

Outline of Program

► Topics
► Objectives
► Skills
► Instructors

A Funder and the Pandemic Bring H.E.L.P. to a Global Audience

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

**Please note that 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 +1 (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.

Accolades from Recent Participants


"I currently work with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics…and I intend to use what I have learned in HELP to fill the knowledge gap on appropriate concepts, laws and methods that can be used to compile, analyse and disseminate information from humanitarian and emergency settings to inform policy and decision making in Uganda."

"As an applicant form Ethiopia and currently working in South Sudan, this course will help me address real problems relating to providing public health services to displace population affected by natural disasters and conflict."

"I intend to use all I’ve learned to educate my colleagues on a better approach in managing emergency situation and draft out a plan to aid the implementation of nutrition program in Nigeria."

"The high level of organizing, lecturers and students’ profiles, the engagement, and discussions with diverse experiences and knowledge, along with the quality of the HELP course curriculum, makes this course a knowledge destination that every humanitarian should reach and carry on from there to deliver the assistance for those who are in need."

"The lecturers were all excellent in the way they engaged us, impacted knowledge and optimized the benefits of on-line leaning. As a result, I benefited a lot and hope to apply the profound knowledge, skills and attitude gained in my work-place and also in rendering care and support to people during emergencies."

"The HELP course has provided me with the integrated theoretical, practical, and field experience frameworks gained by the course lecturers and participants working in different organizations & occupations in the humanitarian sector with solid knowledge gained from their real-life experience combined with best practices."

"In my country as being described as the largest humanitarian crisis, Yemen, these insights, knowledge, and tools I have gained from this will enable me to make meaningful contributions and radical change to future humanitarian programs and health emergencies. I really enjoyed this course because of its diversity of participants and instructors. It also covers a diverse range of key topics in humanitarian assistance."

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