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

Course Status

East Baltimore
Winter Institute
International Health
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Synchronous Online
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year

This Academic Format for HELP assumes that course participants have a knowledge of epidemiological basics, and understand fundamentals of public health. Other than these assumptions there are no specific prerequisites.

Are you a public health practitioners or provider who has responsibilities for the care of populations affected by natural, man-made disasters or complex humanitarian emergencies? Then this could be a course to help you in your responsibilities. Read on for a full description of what you will learn in the H.E.L.P. Course.
Covers the basics of health care in refugee and disaster situations, including disaster epidemiology, environmental health, food and nutritional issues in emergencies, the design, and implementation of health services, and management of communicable diseases. Covers related issues such as conflict origins and conflict resolution, international humanitarian law, human rights, human security, and humanitarian ethics. Addresses real-world problems relating to providing public health services to displaced populations or populations affected by disasters. Shares extensive field experience in emergency situations with faculty from many backgrounds. Incorporates the extensive experience of the International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva) and the Pan American Health Organization (WHO) who are co-sponsors of HELP.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the essential issues related to public health, health care, management, humanitarian law, and ethics that are associated with humanitarian action, and methods to address them.
  2. Analyze health and other humanitarian needs using a multidisciplinary approach that takes into consideration the perceptions, vulnerabilities, and capabilities of the people affected.
  3. Demonstrate, with examples, how collection and use of public health evidence can lead to management decisions which improve health of vulnerable populations
  4. Plan, manage, and evaluate activities included in the response to major humanitarian crises.
  5. Explain how diseases are detected, managed and prevented in a disaster-affected population, with especial attention to epidemics.
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 50% Participation
  • 50% Final Paper
Special Comments

This course will be taught virtually via zoom during the days and times it meets. Students are required to complete a short online module in the months prior to starting class in January.