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Chemical and Biological Weapons Threats: Science, Public Health, Policy

Course Status

East Baltimore
4th Term
Environmental Health and Engineering
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Class Time(s)
Wednesday, 1:30 - 2:50pm
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
International agreements ban chemical and biological weapons, but some countries and terrorist groups continue to acquire and use them. At most risk are unprotected civilians, in resource poor areas, where public health and medical experts are the front line of defense. How can public health experts prepare for such threats? How can they respond to their use? What resources are available to assist resource-poor populations in dealing with the short and long-term challenges of chemical and biological weapons?
Provides a broad understanding of the application of scientific concepts of biological and chemical warfare agents to inform evidence-based public health action and policy-making. Reviews the scientific principles and outcomes of threat agent use. Includes topics such as scientific and clinical aspects of threats agents, history of past use, and overarching policies to control their use. Examines the public health aspects of preparedness, including national development, use, and sharing of medical countermeasures. Explains principles of preparedness and response using case studies. Builds skills in crafting evidence-based public health policy options in preparing and responding to chemical and biological threats.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the properties and clinical impacts of chemical and biological warfare agents
  2. Compare and contrast the public health impact of chemical and biological agent use on civilian populations, especially in resource constrained areas
  3. Discuss the international framework for addressing chemical and biological weapons use, including arms control agreements and the responsibilities of the international community in addressing their use
  4. Explain the measures that can be taken to prepare for and respond to chemical or biological agent use
  5. Outline the processes for the development, use, and sharing medical countermeasures when chemical and biological weapons are employed
  6. Discuss the history of chemical and biological agent use, especially against civilians
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 12% Participation
  • 46% Paper(s)
  • 42% Submitted questions for panels
Special Comments

Several lectures will be available online. These will be the lectures that cover more specific and scientific background material, which will allow students to proceed at their own pace. In addition, it will allow for expert guest instructors who work for the Department of Defense to record a lecture at a time that may be better suited to their schedule, and allow their lectures to be used in future years.