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Certificate Programs

Humanitarian Assistance


Sponsoring department
International Health

Educational Objectives

This certificate program focuses on humanitarian assistance in the international health context. The program is a major educational activity of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. The Center receives technical assistance from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Pan American Health Organization, the UN High Commission for Refugees, and various humanitarian agencies and organizations. Graduates will be able to:

1. Assess an emergency situation to identify immediate and longer term assistance needs and additional resources required.
2. Identify specific health (including psychosocial and mental health) needs of populations affected; plan and implement activities to meet these needs, and monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of assistance provided.
3. Understand the principles of organization and administration of relief services, and collaborate and cooperate with local and international non-governmental organizations, host governments, military forces and United Nations agencies.
4. Use epidemiologic skills to collect, analyze, and use information about natural and man-made disasters.

5. Plan and implement disaster preparedness, response and mitigation activities.
6. Identify disease outbreaks and to know how to contain them in a timely manner.
7. Know the public health consequences of natural disasters and their management.
8. Outline the basic requirements for a food and nutrition program for a disaster-affected population.
9. Use the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights principles to understand the protection needs of displaced populations and to identify and document abuses.
10. Have a basic understanding of the political environment and use this to explain the various forces which affect population displacement.


The certificate is open to master's and doctoral students currently enrolled in a degree program at the Bloomberg School of Public Health who may be working to improve the health of displaced populations in the future. MPH students who have a major career interest in humanitarian emergencies and human rights are encouraged to pursue the MPH Health in Crisis concentration. The concentration is more extensive and includes a seminar and regular discussion opportunities.

Admissions Process

Bloomberg School of Public Health master's and doctoral students are not required to submit a formal application through the Admissions office. They are, however, encouraged to contact a certificate faculty sponsor by email in order to receive advice on selecting courses.

Course of Study
Core requirements must be taken for a letter grade. The additional course requirements may be taken on a pass-fail basis. In case of course conflicts or specific course requests, special arrangements may be made with Dr. Burnham. Students completing the certificate must submit this form via email to Gilbert Burnham. 

Course No.Course TitleNo. CreditsOnline TermCampus Term
Required Courses
221.613Introduction to Humanitarian Emergencies (1st term)2-1
221.639Refugee Health Care (2nd term)312
221.611Food Nutrition and Livelihood in Humanitarian Emergencies (4th term)2-4
221.641Measurement Methods in Humanitarian Emergencies (2nd term)2-2
Elective Courses:  Students must take at least nine credits from the courses listed below
340.639Assessing Epidemiologic Impact of Human Rights Violations2-4
221.634Stress Management for Relief Workers (3rd term)2-3
221.640Children in Crisis (4th term)3-4
221.642Mental Health Aspects of Disaster: Public Health Preparedness and Response (4th term)2-4
221.643Armed Conflict and Health (4th term)2-4
221.661Project Development for Primary Health Care in Developing Countries (4th term)4-4
221.614International Political Science for Public Health Practitioners (2nd term)2-2
182.626Issues for Water and Sanitation in Tropical Enviromental Health (3rd term)2-3
223.680Global Disease Control Programs and Policies (4th term)424
221.627Issues in Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality in Low-Income Countries (2nd term)4-2

Requirements for Successful Completion

The certificate will be awarded to all students who have satisfactorily completed the course requirements.

Contact Information

Faculty Sponsor
Gilbert Burnham
Phone (410) 955-7934

Administrative Contact

Gainful Employment Program Information

In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health is required to disclose graduation rate data, median loan debt data, and other select information for all Title IV eligible gainful employment programs. To see the most recent data available for this gainful employment program, please view the attached disclosure.

Note: Fewer than 10 students graduated from this program in the 2012-13 academic year. Therefore, in accordance with US Department of Education guidelines on student privacy, the on-time completion rate and median loan debt data are not published.  The restrictions imposed by the current US Department of Education online disclosure form limit the number of jobs related to this program that can be displayed in this disclosure: the job(s) listed here represent only a sample of the jobs related to the program.

  1. The certificate is offered to Johns Hopkins University graduate and post-doctoral students (including physicians completing residency or fellowship programs) who are interested in adolescent health.
  2. The certificate program length is flexible; it varies from student to student, however, the certificate must be completed within three years.  Students do not need to be enrolled in a certificate course during consecutive terms.  The number of certificate course credits taken may range from zero to 22 per term.  Degree students earn the certificate simultaneously with their degree program and determine the number of credits taken each term with advisor approval.  Full-time degree students are able to complete the certificate within one academic year.
  3. Tuition, application fee, and book costs are subject to change from one academic year to another academic year.
  4. Completion rates will be tracked beginning in academic year 2012-2013.
  5. The Council of Public Health Education which accredits schools of public health does not require schools to track job placement rates for certificate programs.