This course will cover important thematic areas such as: types, phases and effects of disasters on health, public health and medical responses; infectious diseases and pandemic scenarios; psychosocial  effects; co-ordination of donor and aid agencies; and disaster preparedness. The course will include case studies of recent Australian and international disasters presented by a panel of experts with direct and ongoing experience of these situations.


This course is designed to suit:

  • MPH students from The University of Queensland and other academic institutions who are currently undertaking their MPH or similar degrees.
  • People working in state and federal government departments, non-government organisations or the private sector in a variety of roles who may become involved in disaster response either in Australia or Internationally.
  • People who have experience in disasters who feel that formal education will complement their practical experience and skills.
  • Anyone with an interest in understanding more about health aspects of disasters in Australia and internationally.

Course aims

This course aims to enhance the knowledge, concepts and practice of individuals with interest in working in disasters and complex emergencies. At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  1. Analyse the different perspectives, legal frameworks and guidelines and their implications for disaster management settings.
  2. Critically analyse the diverse types of disasters, their effects on population health and the response in the different phases of a disaster in different disaster settings.
  3. Critically evaluate the type and sources of information in order to establish early warning systems, plan and evaluate the disaster response in different settings.
  4. Identify, categorise and differentiate key stakeholders in disasters and their roles in the different types of disasters and in the different stages of a disaster.
  5. Critically apply the principles of disaster management to a specific disaster identifying how the type of disaster and the social, political, and economic context influence the different stages of preparedness, disaster response and recovery and purpose recommendations.


Download the course flyer (PDF, 229KB). A fee payment link is included on the flyer. Please also complete the participant enrolment form (PDF, 21KB).

Further information

View the course profile.


For more information about the course, contact the Course Coordinator Dr Jo Durham.

For enquiries about enrolment or course fees, contact Ms Liz Gear.

Image: 1918 Spanish influenza ward at Camp Funston, Kansas, by U.S. Army photographer, via Wikimedia Commons, Public domain.