221.613.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 1st Term | 2 Credit(s)
T 5:00:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Gilbert Burnham
    Shannon Doocy
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • define a disaster and list the types of public health needs they create
    • list the common types of disasters and indicate the numbers of persons affected and dead from these in the previous year
    • discuss the common public reactions to disasters and list the myths which are associated with disasters
    • list the organizations and groups which take the lead in the response to disasters
  • Course Description
    Introduces basic types of public health emergencies, both manmade and natural and reviews public health skills used for conflict and disasters. Informs students of the environment in which these emergencies occur and how public health responses to each differ. Students learn which skills are neeeded to address nutritional, water and sanitation, and health needs, as well as the role of surveillance and information systems. Explores mechanisms and management of response to emergencies.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    The Course Instructor is Gilbert Burnham, assisted by Shannon Doocy and Megan Narasimhan

  • Intended Audience
    Master's and doctoral students

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    This course is intended for public health students interested in obtaining an overview of disaster issues, and serves as the Gateway Course for the Health in Crisis concentration area.

  • Methods of Assessment
    Student evaluation based on class participation.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    There will be a short internet quiz each week after the 2nd week, and an open-book internet exercise at the end of the course to assess your knowledge of how to respond to disaster situations. The final exercise will count for 70% of your grade. This is a simulated event to which you can apply what you have learned during the class sessions.

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    The principal text in the Johns Hopkins Red Cross Handbook for Emergencies-2nd Edition, This is in a CD format, and can be purchased from the Teaching Assistant or Kathryn Falcone in room E8132 for $1.00 after 31 August. For students with a serious interest in disasters and refugee issues, the Handbook on War and Public Health by the International Committee of the Red Cross is recommended.This text is on the Courseplus website. This will be the text for Refugee Health Care for those taking that class in the next term.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

    1. Disaster Definitions

    2. Measuring Disasters

    3.War and Public Health

    4. Natural Disasters

    5. Case studies in Disaster Metrics

    6. Climate change and future disasters

    7. Famine

    8.Rebuilding after disaster

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Welcome Message

    Welcome to the Introduction to Humanitarian Emergencies class. This course is oriented for those wanting an overview of public health in disasters as well as those who are starting a detailed learning program about disasters and refugees with a view toward a career in this area.This course is designed as general exposure to disaster management issues,but also serves as the "Gateway" course to the Health in Crisis Concentration area. It orientation is particularly toward disaster issues in developing countries. The course consists of 8 lectures. For each of the lectures there are two sets of readings. The first contains important background for the lecture, and you will be expected to read this. A second set of readings are there for you to expore the subject in greater details according to your interests. The faculty is largely drawn from the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. We very much look forward to your participation in the course.

  • Contact Information(from old syllabus)

    Megan Narasimhan, MPH

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at