Health Aspects of Disasters (PUBH7117)

This course aims to prepare students to work in disaster situations. 

This course, offered in Summer Semester, covers the common types of disasters and effects on:

  • health, nutrition and mortality;
  • public health and medical responses;
  • infectious disease and nutritional emergencies;
  • refugee camps;
  • co-ordination of Donor and Aid agencies;
  • disaster preparedness and minimization of health hazards.

The course will cover:

  1. Analysis of common types of disasters (and causes) and usual effects on health, nutrition and mortality, and also social effects including security issues. Examples will be given with mechanisms of immediate, short term and long term effects.
  2. Public health and medical responses concerning casualties, deceased, risks of disease, shelter, water/sanitation, vectors control, nutrition, mental health, social disruption and other effects in different phases.
  3. Infectious disease and nutritional emergencies.
  4. Designing and running refugee camps: shelter, water, sanitation, security, health care, STI/HIV, population surveillance (mortality, disease, nutrition), mental health, schooling, etc.
  5. Co-ordination of Donor and Aid agencies.
  6. Disaster avoidance, preparedness and minimization of health hazards.

After successfully completing this course you should be able to:

  1. Describe relevant legal frameworks and guidelines and their application in specific disaster management settings;
  2. Identify the purpose and core activities undertaken at different stages of the disaster management cycle;
  3. Critically evaluate the roles of the sectors and actors involved in the relevant stages of a disaster;
  4. Critically evaluate the public health ethical considerations in disaster responses;
  5. Critically evaluate how the social, political, and economic context influence the disaster response;
  6. Apply the principles of disaster management to a disaster scenario in a specific setting (or settings)and appropriate for the stage of the disaster;
  7. Critically appraise and synthesise the literature to develop evidence-based recommendations in relation to specific health aspect of disasters.
  • 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.
  • Health professionals (medical doctors, nurses, NGO staff, health economists, public administrators, planners, social scientists and health system specialists) who are interested in this multidisciplinary field.
  • Military personnel.
  • People who have experience in disasters who feel that formal education will complement their practical experience and skills.
  • MPH students from The University of Queensland and other academic institutions who are currently undertaking their MPH or similar degrees.
  • MSc and PhD students in epidemiology, health economics, public health, health and medicine.
  • This course may not be offered if the enrolment is less than 10 students.


About the course

Course Coordinator
Associate Professor Nick Osborne

About enrolment or course fees

Teaching Support Officer
Lisa Laletina