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Health Emergencies in Large Populations: A disaster medicine learning experience

Paul Singh Dhillon, BA, MB BCh BAO, LRCPSI, DRCOG


The Health Emergencies in Large Populations course, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, is delivered in a decentralized manner by a number of academic centers around the world. It was one of the first formal educational opportunities developed for those in humanitarian assistance organizations, and its initial aim was to upgrade professionalism in humanitarian assistance programs conducted in emergency situations.This article summarizes the history and describes the current content, structure, and costs of the course.


humanitarian, Red Cross, course, disaster

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International Committee of the Red Cross web site: Humanitarian assistance training H.E.L.P. I (Health Emergencies in Large Populations) H.E.L.P. II (Health, Ethics, Law and Policies). Available at Accessed September 3, 2010.

Universalia Management Group: Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) course evaluation. International Committee of the Red Cross Internal Report. Ottawa, ON: Universalia Management Group, 2003.

Perrin P: Health Emergencies in Large Populations (H.E.L.P.): A comprehensive training programme. Soc Prev Med. 1995; 40(1): 58-62.

Fordham University: International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance. Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs.Available at Accessed February 6, 2011.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene: Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance. Available at—teaching/lstm-courses/professional-diplomas/dha. Accessed February 21, 2011.



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