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Humanitarian 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 Humanitarian Health. 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 in collaboration and cooperation 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 that affect population displacement.


The certificate program is open to masters 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. MAS degree students are not eligible to apply. 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

Applicants should review the How to Apply page for information about eligibility and special instructions. The certificate program's review committee will review the applications and notify each applicant of their admissions decision.

Requirements for Successful Completion

The certificate program requires a minimum of 18 credits. All required and elective courses must be taken for a letter grade; a minimum grade of C is required in all certificate coursework and students must maintain a 2.75 or better overall GPA for all  certificate coursework. The certificate program length is flexible; it varies from student to student; however, the certificate program must be completed within three years.

The student should review the section of the website that addresses completion before completing certificate program requirements.  The student's transcript will not indicate that the certificate was earned until the Notification of Completion has been submitted and verified by the certificate program and processed by the Registrar. In addition, students completing the certificate must submit this form via e-mail to the certificate faculty sponsor.

Course of Study

Students should check the course catalog to confirm when the course is offered. The term and time may change from what is listed in the table below and some courses are only offered every other year. Students should also check for prerequisites and whether instructor consent is required. 

Course No.Course TitleNo. CreditsOnline TermCampus Term

Introduction to Online Learning

All students are required to complete this free course before taking other online courses


Academic and Research Ethics at JHSPH

All students are required to complete this free online course during their first term of study

Required Courses
221.613Introduction to Humanitarian Emergencies3-1
221.639Health Care in Humanitarian Emergencies312


Seminar in Humanitarian Health 2-1,2,3 &4
Core Electives: Students must take at least one course
180.670Introduction to Public Health Emergency Preparedness3-4
221.611Food/Nutrition and Livelihood in Humanitarian Emergencies2-4
221.641Measurement Methods in Humanitarian Emergencies2-2
Other Elective Courses: Students must complete courses listed below to attain a total of 18 certificate credits. Courses are organized in tracks, but students may opt to select courses from a single track to develop a more focused topical or methodological area of expertise or can select courses from across tracks, as desired.
Health Track
180.623Infectious Disease Threats to Global Health Security33-
221.627Issues in the Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality in Low-Income Countries4-2
221.643Armed Conflict and Health 2-3
221.661Project Development for Primary Health Care in Developing Countries4-4
380.750Migration and Health: Concepts, Rates and Relationships 3-3
380.765Preventing Infant Mortality and Promoting the Health of Women, Infants and Children 34-
Mental Health Track
221.634Stress Management for Relief Workers2-3
221.642Mental Health Aspects of Disaster: Public Health Preparedness and Response2-4
224.694Mental Health Intervention Programming in Low and Middle-Income Countries 3-3
330.620Issues in Mental Health Research in Developing Countries322
330.680Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Mental Disorders in Low and Middle-Income Countries344
Nutrition Track 
222.649International Nutrition344
Water and Sanitation Track
182.626Issues for Water and Sanitation in Tropical Environmental Health2-3
221.623Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Humanitarian Emergencies23-
Climate Change and Preparedness Track 
180.607Climate Change and Public Health 3S-
180.611The Global Environment, Climate Change, and Public Health 4-1
180.653Climate Change: Avoiding Conflict and Improving Public Health 34-
Human Rights Track
340.639Assessing Epidemiologic Impact of Human Rights Violations2-4
340.683Human Rights in Public Health Practice2-3
380.663Gender-Based Violence Research, Practice and Policy: Issues and Current Controversies3-3
Management and Leadership Track 
221.602Applications in Managing Health Organizations in Low and Middle Income Countries3-1
221.608Managing Non-Governmental Organizations in the Health Sector3-3
221.614International Political Science for PH Practitioners2-2
312.700Leading Organizations3-2,3,SI
380.681Strategic Leadership Principles and Tools for Health System Transformation in Developing Countries4-2
Qualitative Methods Track
224.690Qualitative Research Theory and Methods3-3
410.631Introduction to Community-Based Participatory Research: Principles and Methods3-2
410.710Concepts in Qualitative Research for Social and Behavioral Sciences3-2
410.712Theory and Practice in Qualitative Data Analysis and Interpretation for the Social and Behavioral Sciences3-3
Quantitative Methods Track
223.664Design and Conduct of Community Trials4-3
340.770Public Health Surveillance 3-2
Monitoring and Evaluation Track
380.611Fundamentals of Program Evaluation4-3
380.612Application in Program Monitoring and Evaluation4-4
Spatial Analysis Track
340.696Spatial Analysis I:ARCGIS3-1

Contact Information

Sponsoring Department 
International Health

Contact Person for the Certificate Program
Name Makieba Duff

Faculty Co-Sponsors

Name Gilbert Burnham
Name Courtland Robinson

Gainful Employment Program Information

At this time non-degree students enrolling in this certificate program are not eligible for federal aid. You may, however, pursue private education loans to assist you in meeting your program costs. Contact our Financial Aid Office with any questions.