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ERRB: Training and Education

The Principal Deputy of the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch instructing a class at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Photo by Adrienne Lefevre (2017).

The Principal Deputy of the Emergency Response and Recovery Branch instructing a class at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Photo by Adrienne Lefevre (2017).

The Emergency Response and Recovery Branch conducts diverse training activities.

Our  goal is to help build the capacity of CDC, other U.S. government agencies, United Nations organizations, Nongovernmental organizations and university students in multidisciplinary fields related to complex humanitarian emergencies.

We have partnerships with a number of world class academic institutions including Emory University, Tulane University, and University of Washington. Our partnerships are always expanding and we are focusing on broadening our academic partnerships worldwide.

We currently offer eight courses and a one-year fellowship. More details are available below. Please e-mail ERRBcommunications@cdc.gov for additional information, as the trainings are by invitation only .

Humanitarian Emergencies Training Courses

Epidemiological Methods in Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Overview

This course covers epidemiologic principles, techniques and practice used during complex humanitarian emergencies. Topics to be covered include: both camp and non-camp situations, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in urban settings, and emerging methods. The course includes modules on rapid assessment, surveys, surveillance, outbreak response and other methods, as well as qualitative research. Teaching methods will combine lectures and case studies of recent humanitarian emergencies and will be very participatory. We expect this course to be quite challenging in terms of out-of-class reading assignments, in-class lectures and case studies.

This week-long course is held each summer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Describe best practice in rapid assessment, cross-sectional surveys and surveillance during emergencies;
  2. Explain key indicators and benchmarks used to in CHEs and the best methods to gather data to track these indicators;
  3. Have a working knowledge of data collection systems commonly used by field practitioners: UNHCR HIS, WHO EWARN, and community-based surveillance methods;
  4. Review cross sectional surveys for accuracy and precision;
  5. Describe new methods used in CHEs and list the strengths and limitations of each;
  6. Understand the relationship and place of qualitative and quantitative methods in CHEs;
  7. Understand the roles and responsibilities of different organizations for the collection, review, action and dissemination of epidemiologic data in emergencies.

Food and Nutrition in Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Overview

This course covers malnutrition during humanitarian emergencies, including acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. The course will discuss how organizations decide when, what type and how much food to distribute during crisis. It will also address other programs that are used to prevent malnutrition, how organizations concerned with nutrition evaluate nutritional status in individuals and populations and the various types of feeding programs that are implemented in emergency situations. The course will include practical field exercises on nutrition.

This two-day course is held each summer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Identify the principle nutrition problems in complex emergencies and to outline the major food and nutrition relief programs, which attempt to deal with these problems in refugee and displaced populations.
  2. Describe the different types of macronutrient and micronutrient malnutrition common in emergency-affected, food-dependent populations.
  3. Describe the common programs found in humanitarian emergencies which address macronutrient and micronutrient malnutrition.
  4. Design an assessment of nutritional status to be carried out in a displaced population.
  5. Evaluate any general ration distributed to an emergency-affected, food dependent population.
  6. Describe and evaluate the various methods of distributing food to populations.

Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Overview

This course covers the technical and management principles that are the basis of planning, implementing, and evaluating health programs for acutely displaced populations in developing countries, with emphasis on refugees in camp situations. The course includes modules on assessment, nutrition, epidemiology of major health problems, surveillance, and program management in the context of an international relief operation. We expect this course to be quite challenging in terms of out-of-class reading assignments, in-class lectures and case studies.

This week-long course is held each summer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Describe 3 best processes in emergency mental health intervention for beneficiary populations.
  2. Explain 3 best practices for responder resiliency.
  3. Use interactive tools for initial assessment, planning and evaluation.
  4. Describe all main strategies of prototypical interventions.
  5. Describe the pitfalls and challenges of emergency mental health interventions.
  6. Explain prevention, promotion and intervention strategies within a flexible framework.
  7. Explain the major causes of morbidity and mortality in CHE, including the immediate public health priorities to be addressed
  8. List 3 SPHERE standards and their usage.
  9. List emergency thresholds and benchmarks
  10. Explain the cluster approach and how the major players work together in a CHE

Logistics Operations in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Overview

Logistics planning is critical in identifying intervention opportunities and mobilizing more effective services for health care infrastructure in humanitarian relief operations. In this course, students will become familiar with logistics tools, reports, and methodologies available for enhancing health care response during complex humanitarian emergencies (CHEs).

Logistics is critical for efficient emergency deployment and sustainability during all stages of complex humanitarian health response. Usually, little thought is given to logistics during the “ramp-up phase” of a humanitarian response because of the speed at which response efforts take place, which can cause greater inefficiencies during the actual response. If many of the logistical considerations and needs were accomplished in advance of a CHE response and then tailored to fit the specific needs of the situation at hand, health care response programs would run more smoothly and avoid the added cost of considering logistics last minute.

Examples will be used to illustrate the need for logistics planning, especially from disasters that have happened in the past decade. Lectures will be supplemented with student case studies, subject-matter expert reviewers, and a site visit.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Analyze advantages and disadvantages of various logistical functions when assessing needs from a logistics perspective in CHEs.
  2. Identify the immediate logistical needs in CHEs and how to cover the shortfalls.
  3. Become familiar with government (WHO, HHS, DoD) and non-government organizations (such as UNICEF, CARE, CRF) and how to leverage their support in CHEs.
  4. Identify the appropriate steps to establish sustainable logistical operations in a CHE under austere conditions.
  5. Understand the basic principles and problems associated with coordinating transportation needs for international locations.
  6. Compare and contrast the principles of an emergency supply chain and how it impacts overall efficiency of CHE operations.

Mental Health in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Overview

This course covers essential principles necessary to understand and address mental health issues in complex humanitarian emergencies. Using epidemiological and ethnographic approaches, the course will highlight mental health surveys, outcome evaluation methods, best practices and evidence-based interventions for beneficiary populations, and preparation and training for emergency responders and aid workers.

This two-day course is held each summer at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Describe best practices and processes in emergency mental health intervention for beneficiary populations.
  2. Use epidemiological methods for assessment, planning, and evaluation of emergency mental health interventions.
  3. Explain best practices for responder resiliency and stress management of aid workers.
  4. Describe the pitfalls and challenges of emergency mental health interventions.
  5. Understand the interaction of mental and physical health and the impact of mental health on the functioning of individuals and communities.
  6. Apply basic public health sciences to mental health policies and programs in a complex humanitarian emergency (CHE).
  7. Consider the role of cultural, social, and behavioral factors in the investigation and management of mental health issues in a CHE.
  8. Implement and coordinate comprehensive mental health services in unfamiliar, complex and culturally diverse settings.

Preparedness and Planning for International Emergencies

Course Overview

This course covers the essential principles of emergency preparedness and planning in the international context. Students will become familiar with concepts of the U.S. Federal Plan Development Process, emergency operation plan development, and table-top exercises. The common pitfalls and challenges of emergency preparedness and planning in the international context will be discussed. Students will have the opportunity to walk through the plan development process culminating in a table-top exercise, and provide input for plan improvement.

This two-day course is held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Incorporate strategies for interacting with persons from diverse backgrounds
  2. Consider the role of cultural, social, and behavioral factors in the accessibility, availability, acceptability and delivery of public health services
  3. Respond to diverse needs that are the result of cultural differences
  4. Identify internal and external problems that may affect the delivery of essential public health services
  5. Promote individual, team and organizational learning opportunities
  6. Solicit input from individuals and organizations
  7. Apply the basic public health sciences to public health policies and programs
  8. Implement the judicial and operational procedures of the governing body and/or administrative unit that oversees the operations of the public health organization

Risk Communications for Global Public Health Emergencies

Course Overview

The objective of the Risk Communications for Global Public Health Emergencies course is to encourage and facilitate improved risk communication for public health emergencies among public health authorities and partner organizations, through the building of risk communication core capacities as part of the surveillance and response requirements of the International Health Regulations (IHR).

The course integrates a highly interactive simulation exercise as a means to engage participants, stimulate discussion and confront the real difficulties in this challenging area of work. The objective of the simulation exercise is to encourage improved risk communication for public health emergencies among public health authorities. This is done through participation in a series of decision-making challenges, in discussions assessing the choices made, and a consideration of the practical capacity building steps required.

This two-day course is held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  1. Understand how effective risk communication supports other public health emergency functions
  2. Describe the purpose of the WHO International Health Regulations (IHR) and the role of risk communications within the IHR
  3. Develop risk communications messages tailored for specific audiences throughout a crisis
  4. Identify potential issues and solutions for coordinating communications during a crisis event
  5. Explain the role(s) of and criteria for an effective spokesperson
  6. Discuss how to gather and incorporate feedback from affected populations in communications outreach
  7. Describe the core components of a Communications Action Plan to for public health emergencies

Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies

Course Overview

This course builds on students’ knowledge of epidemiologic principles, sexual and reproductive health indicators, and health in complex humanitarian emergencies. It takes an applied epidemiological approach covering three essential components to sexual and reproductive health in complex humanitarian emergencies: program management, monitoring, and evaluation; policy and advocacy; and emerging issues and methods.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain how SRH needs are affected by CHEs
  2. Identify guiding SRH international frameworks/policies, key indicators, common morbidities, affected populations, and stakeholders in CHEs
  3. Apply core concepts and techniques addressed in the MISP
  4. Understand gaps and challenges to SRH program implementation and management in CHEs
  5. Describe emerging SRH issues and programming methods in CHEs
  6. Advocate for SRH in CHEs

Complex Humanitarian Emergency (CHE) Fellowship

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Emergency Response and Recovery Branch (ERRB) and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) offer a joint one-year Public Health Fellowship.

The Complex Humanitarian Emergency (CHE) Fellowship is intended to build:

  • National capacity to respond in the event of a complex humanitarian emergency;
  • Strong technical skills in epidemiology, rapid health assessment, surveillance, monitoring and evaluation;
  • Relationships and collaborative operations research projects.

Components of the Fellowship include a 1-year Masters in Public Health (MPH) Program culminating in an MPH graduate degree in Global Health, a Graduate Certificate in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, and career experience with CDC ERRB.

Eligibility Requirements

This scholarship is intended for mid-career professionals with the following minimum qualifications:

  • Three years of experience in complex humanitarian emergencies, conflict, post-conflict, or resource-poor settings
  • Baccalaureate degree (candidates with MD or post-baccalaureate education will be given preference)
  • Fluent speaking, reading and writing in English
  • Basic computer skills

Sponsoring organizations should be able to give assurances to the recipient of having a job upon completion of the Fellowship. Priority will be given to candidates from regions that have experienced conflict or a humanitarian emergency.

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