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The Center for Refugee and Disaster Relief


Center for Refugee and Disaster Response Alumni

The Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, as part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, offers programs focused on Refugee and Disaster issues.

There are several track options such as the MPH, MSPH, PHD or DrPH. The completion of these studies enables the individual to better respond to the challenges and needs of Refugee and issues in Disaster management.

We are featuring here some of our previous students, involved in relevant and important role in the humanitarian field:


MSPH Graduate Student

Eva Leidman, MSPH: CDC

Eva Leidman is an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch. Her work focuses on methods to measure the severity of natural disasters, complex emergencies and the humanitarian response to them. Leidman joined the CDC after graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2012. While at JHSPH, she worked with center faculty Drs. Doocy and Kirsch to assess recovery following natural disasters in Haiti and Pakistan. She received the Humanitarian Assistance Award to pursue work responding to the earthquake in Haiti on a USAID/OFDA funded project with Project Concern International and Global Communities. The project has since been held up as a model of effective, evidence based response by the Washington Post and NPR.

She is currently working on a number of projects at the CDC including:

  • Assessing the health and nutrition of Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq as well as internally displaced people still within Syria. Results from their assessment of Syrian women and Children in Jordan were published as an MMWR Early Release in May, 2014.
  • Technically supporting efforts to monitor levels of malnutrition in South Sudan. This effort was initiated in response to concerns of food insecurity as conflict escalated. With Dr. Oleg Bilukha, and colleagues at CDC, ACF-CA, ACF-US, and UNICEF, Leidman is drafting a review discussing the surveillance method used in South Sudan and their applicability in other countries during ongoing conflict.
  • Working with the Ministry of Health in Iraq, the World Health Organization, and colleagues at the CDC to analyze data from the national all-cause injury surveillance system to monitor injuries including those resulting from the escalating conflict. Data from the eight pilot governorates has recently been published online.

Leidman has also been involved in the CDC’s response to the Ebola outbreak. As part of the response, she traveled to Sierra Leone to work as a district epidemiologist supporting surveillance activities, case investigations and contact tracing.



Leidman in Haiti, where she worked with CRDR faculty on natural disaster recovery assessments.

Paul Perrin picMPH Graduate Student

Paul Perrin, MPH: Catholic Relief Services

Paul Perrin is the Senior Technical Advisor for Health Research and Evaluation at Catholic Relief Services, where he has also worked as a consultant since 2006. His job functions entail supporting country programs in conceptualizing, designing, implementing, analyzing, and reporting on health-related operations research and evaluation activities. Paul completed his PhD in International Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was affiliated with the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response and was named a student scholar at the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER Center). He also worked as an information officer at USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, where he served as editor-in-chief for two of the office’s annual reports and as an information coordinator for the Haiti earthquake response management team, as well as supporting the Europe, Middle East, and Central Asia team. Paul also received a Masters in Public Health and a Bachelors of Arts in Linguistics from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.



Donell Harvin pic1HELP Course Graduate Student

Donell Harvin: NYC Medical Examiner

Donell Harvin is the Deputy Director for the NYC Medical Examiner’s Special Operations Division, an interdisciplinary team tasked with responding to incidents involving numerous fatalities and/or in complex fatality management scenarios in the tri-state region.  He functions as the agency lead on disaster and emergency management-related planning and response and continuity of operations.  He has a broad EMS and hazardous materials (HazMat) response background, having served as a NYC paramedic for over 18 years, and as well as on several HazMat response teams for several NYC agencies.

Mr. Harvin holds two masters degrees; an MPH in Environmental Science, an MPA in Emergency Management, and a masters (MA) certificate in Terrorism Studies.  He has wrote masters dissertations on air quality around public schools, and on the psychology of terrorism and suicide bombers.  He is still active in EMS and is a voting member of the NYC Regional EMS Council (REMSCO), and has written and taught extensively on EMS, emergency management and suicide terrorism.  He is currently writing chapters for several upcoming EMS texts related to crime scene operations, and response to terrorism.  Mr. Harvin teaches EMS, Police and Fire/Rescue and emergency management personnel as an adjunct professor at John Jay College and has served as a researcher for the Center on Terrorism Studies at John Jay.  He is currently on the board of directors for the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies (RaCERS) at John Jay College.   

Mr. Harvin has responded to numerous emergencies and disasters as an emergency response professional including the 1993 WTC bombing, 9/11, the Flight 587 crash, the 2007 steam pipe explosion, and the 2009 Mid-air collision over the Hudson River.  He has also directed the medical examiner’s field responses to the 2010 Bronx Casino Bus Crash and to Hurricane Irene in 2012. 

He is currently completing a doctoral degree in public health (DrPH) with a concentration in Environmental and Occupational Health Science at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. 

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