Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.) Course

A training course for managing relief operations in humanitarian crises

Dates: 30 July - 10 August  2018
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Application Deadline: 15 June 2018

Course Overview

The Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P) course is a two-week, on-site, graduate level training course on the principles and practice of humanitarian interventions in response to the needs of populations affected by acute and protracted crises due to disasters, armed conflicts, or other complex crises. The course utilizes a multidisciplinary, public health approach and focuses on the management of operations in humanitarian crises with an emphasis on decision-making and discussions on critical challenges and ethical dilemmas faced by managers and practitioners.


The H.E.L.P. course is offered by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) in joint collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the partnership of University of Hawaii's Office of Public Health Studies. The Center has  been conducting the H.E.L.P. course for 20 years, graduating over 575 participants from diverse background in public health, medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster management.

History of the H.E.L.P. Course


The H.E.L.P. course was created in 1986 by the International Committee of the Red Cross to enhance professionalism in humanitarian assistance programs conducted in natural disasters and complex emergencies. The H.E.L.P. course has been conducted in various parts of Latin America, North America, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe. Since 1986, over 4,000 health professionals and humanitarian aid workers from the ICRC, Armed Forces, United Nations agencies, Ministries of Health, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions have attended the course.


A Joint Effort


The H.E.L.P. course is organized by the ICRC in partnership with academic institutions, National Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies, and public health and disaster management organizations globally. Current partnerships and locations for jointly implementing the H.E.L.P. course include the following globally-recognized institutions:

Course Topics and Objectives


The H.E.L.P. course provides participants with the tools, frameworks, and decision-making skills necessary to effectively respond to the needs of populations affected by humanitarian crises. The course undergoes rigorous annual academic and quality reviews with the ICRC, WHO, and academic partners to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive, evidence- and competency-based curriculum, incorporating innovative approaches in the planning and delivery of public health interventions. The Center’s H.E.L.P. course primarily focuses on unique challenges in preparing for and responding to humanitarian crises in the Asia-Pacific region.


H.E.L.P. course topics discussed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Health Service Planning for Emergencies
  • Epidemiological Assessment
  • Communicable Disease Control and Prevention in Emergencies
  • Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Issues in Emergencies
  • Nutrition in Emergencies
  • Food Assistance in Emergencies
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Emergencies
  • Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies
  • Non-Communicable Diseases in Emergencies
  • Civil-Military Coordination in Emergencies
  • Humanitarian Principles
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • Humanitarian Ethics
  • Role and Influence of Media in Emergencies
  • Humanitarian Security Strategies


The Center is fortunate to retain a core faculty of field experienced practitioners that understand the unique complexities of responding to global humanitarian crises. The Center’s H.E.L.P. course faculty maintains backgrounds working for U.N. agencies, international organizations, academic institutions and international non-governmental organizations. The culmination of their experiences delivers world-class training, ensuring participants are interactive with the course content and one another throughout the course.


Teaching Concepts and Methods

The H.E.L.P. course emphasizes problem solving and participatory teaching and learning, promoting analysis of situations and participation in group discussions. Many teaching methods are employed throughout the course to ensure interactive discussions take place between participants and faculty, including lectures, selected readings, group work in problem solving and case studies, simulations, and participant presentations.




The H.E.L.P. course is intended for professionals involved in humanitarian crises. It is recommended that participants have some work experience (1-3 years) in humanitarian emergencies, whether these situations are due to disasters or armed conflict, and have taken on or will take on the task of managing interventions in these settings.


Application Information


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


If you have difficulty submitting your application electronically, please call: (808) 472-0381, or email Ms. Stephanie Liu at Applicants to the course will be accepted on a monthly, rolling basis by our Selection Committee and will be informed of the committee’s determination to attend thereafter.

The application deadline for the 2018 H.E.L.P. course is June 15, 2018.

Registration Fees


There are no registration fees for attending the Center’s H.E.L.P. course. Each participant is responsible for paying their own airfare, lodging and meals while attending the course. The Center’s H.E.L.P. Course Coordination Team will provide recommended lodging, directions and administrative guidance to selected participants.


Academic Credit


For selected participants interested in earning an optional three (3) graduate level credits through the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the H.E.L.P. Course Coordination Team will provide contact information to coordinate receiving credits from the University. Please note a separate application and additional, University-driven admission requirements exist and will need to be coordinated by participants electing to take the course for graduate credits. University tuition fees will be waived for those attending the course; although a non-refundable administration fee of $130.00 USD will be collected by the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is the sole responsibility of  participants to pay that are electing to receive the credits. The deadline for registering with the University is June 22, 2018.


Certificate of Completion


Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be awarded a Certificate of Completion by the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Daily attendance and the delivery of a fifteen minute presentation highlighting an experience or research related to the H.E.L.P. course are pre-requisites for receiving the Certificate of Completion. Additional guidance on participant presentations will be provided to selected participants.


H.E.L.P. Course Coordination Team Contact Information


Please contact the H.E.L.P. Course Coordination Team if you have any questions not covered on the website.


Administrative Inquiries:

Ms. Stephanie Liu, Administrative Assistant

+1 (808) 472-0381


Course Content Inquiries:

Mr. Craig Jaques, Global Health Security Advisor and H.E.L.P. Course Coordinator, Training and Engagements


Thank you for your interest in attending our 2018 Health Emergencies in Large Populations course. We look forward to receiving your application.