Public Health in Emergencies


$35 Enroll

Full course description

Course Title

Public Health in Emergencies

Course Description

This is a self-paced learning experience. You will be able to stop and start the module at your convenience.

In this module, students will gain an understanding of different types of emergencies, the impact that emergencies have on physical health, mental health, and social well-being. They will be introduced to the different actors, roles and responsibilities when responding to public health events as well as the globally recognized frameworks and standards. Additionally, participants will review examples of program interventions to prevent and respond to public health concerns in emergency contexts.

Throughout this module, you will learn from working professionals who have contributed through video as well as authored the text. In addition to watching videos and reading text, you will interact with the content, in various ways, through sliders that reveal information as you move, hotspots on an image, a variety of question styles (both graded and ungraded), and more.

Duration to complete module: 4-6 hours approximately. If using a mobile device to review the module, use the browser on your device. Do not access through the Canvas app.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Reflect on the consequences that emergencies have on health and differentiate between the impact of emergencies on physical health, mental health, and social well-being.

  • Recognize the effects of emergencies on different vulnerable populations, and explain the core concepts and approaches to public health in emergencies.

  • Describe the primary actors and their roles in responding to public health needs in emergency contexts.

  • Examine public health prevention and response interventions across the humanitarian cluster system.

Please contact for further information. 

Course Contributors 

instructor photo


Dr. Summer Sherburne Hawkins, MS
Associate Professor

Dr. Summer Sherburne Hawkins, MS is an Associate Professor in the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW). She is a social epidemiologist with an interest in addressing policy-relevant research questions in women’s and children’s health. Her research examines the impact of policies on health disparities in parents and children, particularly using methodology that integrates epidemiology and economics. She also developed and teaches a course at the BCSSW called, Public Health Social Work. Click here for full biography.

instructor photo

Subject Expert

Dr. Lyndsey McMahan, LCSW
Assistant Director, Global Field Education, Boston College School of Social Work

Dr. Lyndsey McMahan, LCSW, is Assistant Director of Global Field Education at Boston College School of Social Work. Dr. McMahan is global social worker and graduate of the Boston College School of Social Work. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and has extensive experience living and working in low and middle income countries. Dr. McMahan's research focuses on global health NGOs that engage with actors across different scales (global, national, local) and the challenges organizations face due to this. She primarily uses qualitative methods to better understand the lived experiences of individuals, which ultimately inform research, policy, and practice recommendations. Dr. McMahan holds a PhD in Global Governance and Human Security from University of Massachusetts Boston.