Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies (HHAE) Course

Building public health preparedness and response capacity to humanitarian crises in the Pacific region

Course Dates: 27 November – 08 December 2017
Location: James Cook University, Cairns, Australia
Application Deadline: October 15, 2017

Course Overview:

Humanitarian interventions have become more complex and the constraints in carrying them out increasingly difficult to overcome. In response to these challenges, the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance and James Cook University’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences in Cairns, Australia have jointly developed the Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies (HHAE) course to train and equip professionals working or interested in working in the Pacific region on the principles and practice of humanitarian relief, providing participants a multi-disciplinary vision of humanitarian strategy in the provision of public health and medical interventions in humanitarian crises.

The HHAE course has been designed as a two-week training course,  providing a wide range of professionals involved in humanitarian action the public health tools, ethical and principled approaches required in preparing for or responding to humanitarian crises, whether they are natural disasters (e.g. geophysical, hydrological, meteorological or biological) or complex emergencies (e.g. combination of man-made crises and natural disasters). The course will also focus on multi-disciplinary prevention and response to infectious diseases outbreaks and public health emergencies in the Pacific region.


CFE-DM trains and educates hundreds of international and domestic civilian, military, and humanitarian professionals each year in disaster management, humanitarian assistance, and global public health. For twenty years, CFE-DM has focused on improving the health of populations affected by humanitarian crises by conducting the Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.) course in joint collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross and the University of Hawaii. CFE-DM employs a multidisciplinary team of researchers, practitioners and trainers with backgrounds working with humanitarian, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and academic institutions. CFE-DM conducts collaborative trainings, research, and exercises annually with the United Nations, ICRC, International Federation of the Red Cross, World Food Programme, RedR Australia, the Australian Civil-Military Centre, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Columbia University and the Pacific Disaster Center.


Academic Partnership:

Public Health and Tropical Medicine represents one of the largest graduate public health training programs in Australasia, and has a distinguished record at JCU, making the University an ideal partner in the design and delivery of the Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies course.

JCU’s College of Public Health Medical and Veterinary Sciences maintains a history and ongoing commitment to support under-privileged areas of the Tropics with a particular focus on the challenges facing health professionals working in tropical, rural and remote locations. Special attention is given to the needs of high-risk community groups, including refugee and migrant populations, and Indigenous Australians. The World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre supports JCU’s research capacity-building and research training in the area of neglected tropical diseases in the Western Pacific region.

Course Topics and Objectives:

Innovative trends, recent natural disasters, and infectious disease outbreak challenges in the Pacific region will be woven into the curriculum for relevancy and transmission of up-to-date information for participants working in the region. The course undergoes rigorous academic and quality reviews to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive, evidence- and competency-based curriculum, incorporating pioneering approaches in the planning and delivery of public health interventions.


Course topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Health Service Planning for Emergencies
  • Field-based Epidemiological Surveillance and Assessment
  • Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Strategies in Humanitarian Crises
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Challenges in Humanitarian Crises
  • Emergency Nutrition and Food Security in Humanitarian Crises
  • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Crises
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs
  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
  • Vulnerable Populations in Humanitarian Crises
  • Non-Communicable Disease Control and Prevention in Humanitarian Crises
  • Humanitarian Principles
  • Humanitarian and Medical Ethics
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Civil-Military Coordination
  • Role and Influence of Media
  • Humanitarian Security Strategies
  • Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination
  • WHO Emergency Medical Team Initiative
  • Humanitarian Security Strategies

Course Faculty:

The Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance, James Cook University’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, and supporting subject matter experts are internationally-recognized faculty and field-experienced practitioners that understand the unique complexities of public health preparedness and response activities for humanitarian crises in the Pacific region. Training team members for the HHAE course have backgrounds working for U.N. agencies, international organizations, academic institutions, and international non-governmental organizations. The culmination of their experiences delivers world-class training that ensures participants are collaboratively addressing each topic through trainer-led presentations, case studies and interactive exercises.

Course Application Information:

To apply, please complete all required information on the online application.

If you have difficulties submitting your application electronically, please email Ms. Rochelle Nae’ole-Adams at or Ms. Madeline Ballesteros at

Applications for the course will be reviewed on a rolling basis by our Selection Committee. Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s determination immediately thereafter.


HHAE Course Contact Information:

Submit the Online Application

Travel and Administrative Inquires:
Rochelle Nae’ole-Adams, Branch Chief, Mission Support

Madeline Ballesteros, Administrative Assistant, Mission Support, CFE-DM

Course Content Inquiries: 
Craig Jaques, Program Manager, Health and Humanitarian Action in Emergencies Course