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The Center for Refugee and Disaster Relief


Center Faculty

SpiegelPaul Spiegel, PMD, MPH, a physician by training, is internationally recognized for his research on preventing and responding to complex humanitarian emergencies. Before becoming CRDR Director, Paul was the deputy director of the Division of Programme Management and Support Services for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Prior to joining the UN in 2002, Paul worked as a medical epidemiologist in the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also worked as a medical coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in refugee emergencies, as well as a consultant for numerous organizations.

Judy_BassJudith Bass, PhD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health with a joint appointment (in process) at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Last winter she participated in the WHO sponsored workshop Improving outcome research on mental health and psychosocial programs in post-disaster and (post)-conflict settings.  Her research interests include designing and evaluating methods for assessing mental health and mental illness in non-Western cultures with the intention for using these assessments to investigate effectiveness of innovative prevention and intervention strategies.  Through this work, she is committed to improving the evidence-base for mental health and psychosocial programming in low-resource settings.  Current projects include collaborating with NGOs on evaluating psychosocial programs for children in crisis in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe and an evaluation of a group counseling intervention for conflict affected populations in Aceh, Indonesia.

Paul_BoltonPaul Bolton, MBBS, DMTH, MPH, MSc, is an Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. A physician by training, since 1988 he has worked directly or as a technical consultant with various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in war, disaster, and development settings.  His primary areas of expertise involve cross-cultural assessment with a focus on mental health and psychosocial programming and the application of these methods to project assessment, monitoring, and evaluation. Dr. Bolton has worked as a consultant on monitoring and evaluation (M and E) of health projects for many of the major US-based and European NGOs. This work has included evaluation of programs, designing interventions and M and E systems, and developing courses and manuals for humanitarian organizations to conduct their own ongoing cross-cultural assessments and M and E.  Dr. Bolton also conducts programmatic research in collaboration with these same organizations. The focus of this work is the development and/or adaptation of new research findings and methods that can be used by service providers to answer questions of programmatic importance. 




Gilbert BurnhamGilbert Burnham, MD, PhD, is a professor in the department of International Health and has extensive experience in emergency preparedness and response, particularly in humanitarian needs assessment, program planning, and evaluation that address the needs of vulnerable populations, and the development and implementation of training programs. He also has extensive experience in the development and evaluation of community-based health program planning and implementation, health information system development, management and analysis, and health system analysis. He has worked with numerous humanitarian and health development programs for multilateral and non-governmental organizations, regional health departments, ministries of health (national and district level), and communities in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Two major current activities include the reconstruction of health services in Afghanistan and the strengthening of Schools of Public Health in East Africa.

Shannon DoocyShannon Doocy, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of International Health and faculty of the Johns Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response.  Her research focuses on populations affected by disasters and conflict, including both refugees and internally displaced populations. Within the emergency context, her areas of interest include population-based assessments, mortality, nutrition and food security, livelihoods and cash interventions, and monitoring and evaluation of health programs. With more than a decade of experience working on public health issues in emergencies, she has worked in collaboration with numerous NGOs, government, UN agencies and academic institutions in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.  Dr. Doocy aims to translate research into practice with an emphasis on studies that can inform humanitarian practice and policy.

Picture of AnbrasiAnbrasi Edward, PhD, MPH, MBA is a full time faculty in the department of International Health and co-instructs several management and primary health care courses at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has over 15 years of experience mostly in Africa and Asia, providing technical assistance to several USAID funded initiatives for program planning and evaluation and developing community based systems for improved health service delivery including countries emerging from/or in post conflict like Cambodia, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Mindanao, Philippines. Her recent research has been focused on health system evaluation performance measures for the World Bank, PAHO, and JSI. The first partnership with the center began with the health reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan in 2002 with World Relief. Currently, she is a co-principal investigator for the evaluation of the Afghanistan Ministry’s national program for Strengthening Health Services for the Rural Poor and also the principal investigator for a feasibility research on community score cards to improve health service quality and utilization for the Future Health Systems Consortium. She also leads the JHU partnership with MSH for USAID’s Leadership Management and Governance Project.

Nancy GlassNancy Glass, PhD, MPH, RN, Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health. Dr. Glass has 18 years of research experience in conducting clinical and community-based interventions with diverse populations across multiple settings domestically and globally. She is currently the PI of five federally funded (R01s NIH/NIMH, NICHD and NIMHD and CDC/NIOSH) multidisciplinary research studies to test employment, economic empowerment and safety interventions to improve the health and well-being of gender-based violence (GBV) survivors, youth and their families. She is the PI of a UNICEF funded study in Somalia and South Sudan to prevent and respond to GBV in humanitarian setting. She is a co-investigator on two US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration (BPRM) funded partnership with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) to develop and test a screening tool to identify survivors of GBV in displaced and refugee populations in Ethiopia, Uganda and Colombia. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in partnership with Congolese-led NGOs, Dr. Glass is currently funded by NIH (NIMHD and NICHD) to test the effectiveness of a village led microfinance program on the health and economic stability, including reintegration to family and community for GBV survivors and other vulnerable women and men as well as young adolescents (ages 10-15 years) living in rural villages.

Adam Kushner

Adam L Kushner, MD, MPH, FACS is a general surgeon and Associate in the Department of International Health. He is also a Lecturer in Surgery at Columbia University and Founder of Surgeons OverSeas (SOS). He has worked as a surgeon and educator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Syria; a human rights researcher in Azerbaijan, Kosovo and Iraq; a health specialist in Indonesia after the 2005 tsunami; and taught trauma care and emergency management of landmine injuries in Colombia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. He is a leader in the development of global surgery as a specialty and since 2003 has participated in US military training exercises as a human rights, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief subject matter expert. He has over 80 peer-reviewed publication and is series editor of the Johns Hopkins University Press books "Operation Health: Surgical Care in the Developing World."
Laura Murray

Laura Murray, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Health, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. A clinical psychologist by training, she has expertise in children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Murray is highly trained in numerous evidence-based treatments, with a particular specialty in researching and treating trauma and grief. She is currently an expert trainer in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Dr. Murray has expertise in clinical manual adaptation, cross-cultural training, and the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices. Her research interests include the treatment of HIV-affected children who have experienced trauma and/or grief, assessment of mental and behavioral health, as well as training on, adapting and testing evidence-based mental health interventions in low-resource environments. Two current projects include working with NGOs and government ministries in Zambia to integrate mental health assessment and treatment into existing HIV-care infrastructures and evaluate their effectiveness, and in Cambodia on the implementation of an evidence-based treatment for trafficked youth.


Dr. Pham

Kiemanh Pham, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of International Health. He completed a Fellowship in International Emergency Medicine at the Center in 2011, when he worked in Darfur, Sudan on a monitoring and evaluation of primary health and water/sanitation programs. He has also worked on building a health information system for the Tibetan Department of Health in India and Nepal and on developing a screening tool to identify survivors of gender-based violence in Ethiopia, Colombia, and Uganda. More recently, he has been awarded the KL2 Mentored Career Development Award to pursue a Ph.D. with the Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Courtland Robinson

W. Courtland Robinson, PhD, is a professor at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. He has been involved in refugee research and policy analysis since 1979. The non-governmental organizations and academic institutions with which Dr. Robinson has worked include the Indochina Refugee Action Center, Save the Children, World Education, the U.S. Committee for Refugees, the Asian Research Center for Migration, and Mercy Corps. He is the author of numerous studies on refugee issues, particularly in Asia. His book, Terms of Refuge: The Indochinese Exodus and the International Response (1998, Zed Books), was selected by the Humanitarian Times as one of the ten best books for 1999. His current research activities include famine and distress migration in North Korea, demographic assessment methods in complex emergencies, and global patterns in migration and health.

Lauren Sauer
Lauren Sauer, MS, is a research associate in the Department of Emergency Medicine where she studies quality of aid in response to disasters and the effects of disasters on healthcare infrastructure. She joined the department in 2005 and became research faculty in 2011. Lauren is also the Program Manager for the National Center for Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response, a Homeland Security Center of Excellence.  She is the current co-chair for the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s Disaster Interest Group and the Co-Director for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine disaster course. She is a Core Team Leader on the Johns Hopkins Go Team, a deployable Medical Asset. She has worked remotely and on the ground on several disaster responses including Hurricane Katrina, the 2009 California Wildfires, the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan floods. Lauren has spoken both nationally and internationally on a variety of disaster medicine topics and has participated in the US Navy’s Continuing Promise missions in 2010 and 2011 and Pacific Partnership Mission in 2012. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications in disaster medicine, public health preparedness and surge capacity metrics.
Tappis headshot

Hannah Tappis, DrPH, MPH is a Senior Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Advisor at Jhpiego and associate faculty in the Department of International Health where her work focuses on expanding the evidence base for health service delivery approaches in conflict and disaster-affected settings. She has more than ten years of experience in health program design, implementation and research and is currently the PI for a national assessment of the quality of maternal and newborn health services in Afghanistan. Other recent and ongoing projects include collaborations with UN agencies, governments and NGOs to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian programs and to conduct population-based surveys of mortality, health and social service access of displaced and crisis-affected populations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.



Wietse A. Tol, Ph.D. is the Dr. Ali and Rose Kawi Assistant Professor in Global Mental Health at the Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His activities focus on two themes: (1) the interplay between research and practice in strengthening programs for populations exposed to adversity (violence, chronic poverty) in low- and middle-income countries; and (2) mental health prevention and promotion interventions in these settings. He has conducted qualitative and quantitative research with violence-affected child and adult populations in Nepal, Burundi, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste. He regularly consults with United Nations and (international) non-governmental organizations with regard to needs assessment, intervention development, capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation. His research has been published in leading journals, including the Lancet, JAMA, and PLoS Medicine. In 2011, Dr. Tol was awarded the Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Twitter: @wietsetol

Dr. Veneema

Tener Goodwin Veenema, RN, PhD, MPH, MS, FAAN, is an Associate Professor and Pediatric Emergency Nurse Practitioner at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and at the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response. Dr. Veenema is internationally recognized for her work in disaster nursing and public health emergency preparedness. She is the editor of Disaster Nursing and Emergency Preparedness for Chemical, Biological and Radiological Terrorism and Other Hazards, now in its third edition and the leading textbook in the field. For over fifteen years, Dr. Veenema has served as Senior Consultant to the United States Government, including the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Administration for Children and Families (Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response), Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, and most recently the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Dr. Veenema is a senior scientist on the American Red Cross National Scientific Advisory Board and an elected Fellow in both the National Academies of Practice and the American Academy of Nursing. In 2013 Dr. Veenema was awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal of Honor from the International Red Crescent (Geneva, Switzerland), the highest international award a nurse can receive. Dr. Veenema is committed to improving the health & safety of children following global disaster events and complex human emergencies.

Alexander Vu
Alexander Vu, DO, MPH, is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine and at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of International Health. He is director of the Johns Hopkins International Emergency Medicine and Public Health Fellowship, the aim of which is to train physicians to become global health field researchers. His work and research are focused on developing measurement methods and interventions to improve health outcomes of displaced populations. He has several current studies: 1) National HIV Surveillance among at risk populations in Afghanistan; 2) Development of the Assessment Screen to Identify Survivors Toolkit for Gender Based Violence (ASIST-GBV) for female refugees in Ethiopia and Colombia and male refugees in Uganda; 3) Development of health information system to track health outcomes of Tibetan refugees living in India and Nepal. His previous studies include: 1) Use of Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) as an alternative assessment method to measure impact of health interventions and health outcomes in conflict affected West Darfur, Sudan; 2) Monitoring and evaluation of  an HIV/AIDS prevention program directed at youths in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda; 3) Assessment and development of interventions to improve the emergency health system in Iraq, Kurdistan, and Azerbaijan.

William Weiss

William Weiss, DrPH, MA, is a public health specialist with over 20 years of experience in working with and supporting health and relief programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.  His expertise is in the assessment, monitoring and evaluation of programs, including rapid assessment methods, health information systems, and eHealth and mHealth applications.  He has extensive experience with quantitative methods, and qualitative and participatory assessment methods.  Specific applications include household surveys, health facility surveys, clinical information systems, participatory learning and action methods, mobile data collection applications, and surveillance systems.  At the JHU Center for Refugee and Disaster Response he lectures in Center courses and provides support to staff of NGOs and local government officials in the design, collection and analysis of useful for: (1) assessing health problems, knowledge and practices among refugees and internally displaced persons during transition and resettlement; and (2) participatory planning to solve health and development problems. Dr. Weiss received his DrPH degree in international health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Weiss’s MA degree in International Affairs is from the George Washington University with a focus in international development.  Dr. Weiss has lived in Latin America and Asia and speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Italian.

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