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Health and Disasters: Understanding the International Context

Course Description
Course Developers
Course Resources
About the Disaster Information Specialization Certificate


Course Description

Health and Disasters: Understanding the International Context

Every disaster is a national disaster. Yet the health impact of disasters that occur outside the United States is similar to domestic disasters and can have important repercussions for US communities and agencies, either because they now perceive a shared vulnerability and risk or because a large diaspora exists in the US that will demand information. This four-hour course for information specialists, librarians, and other related professionals looks at who's who (and why) in the international disaster community, their roles and responsibilities in pre- and post-disaster situations, and the type of information that they may offer or require to respond to real or perceived needs, with a particular focus on health. Class exercises will focus on finding appropriate sources of information to respond to client requests. Key websites will be reviewed and an extensive bibliography provided.

Course Developers

John Scott, MS
Center for Public Services Communications
Arlington, VA

Patricia Bittner, MS
Coordinator for Disaster Risk Management
Center for Public Services Communications
Arlington, VA

For questions or concerns about a course, please contact the Disaster Information Management Research Center at dimrc@nlm.nih.gov
This class is offered at no cost. Completing this class earns four Medical Library Association (MLA) continuing education (CE) credits. CE hours from this class may be used toward the MLA Disaster Information Specialization Program document of completion at the Advanced Level.

To obtain a certificate showing that you have completed this class, please register using the registration form and select the class you have completed from the dropdown menu. You will receive an email with a link to the Continuing Education survey from the Medical Library Association. After completing the survey, you will be able to print or download your class certificate. This certificate is the only record of your class completion. You will need to retain a copy of the certificate to include in your application for the MLA Disaster Information Specialization Advanced Level document of completion.
Course Resources

To complete the online class, please view the video lecture and read the course materials. There is no homework. You may find it helpful to review the handouts and presentation materials before watching the course.

Videocast Recording
PowerPoint Slides
Transcript of Live-Captioning of Videocast
Course Web Links

General Information
Health and Disasters/Emergencies
International Sources of Disaster Information–United Nations
International Sources of Disaster Information–Others
Specialized Topics: Communicable Diseases and Disasters
Specialized Topics: Mental Health in Disaster Situations
Specialized Topics: Water and Sanitation in Emergencies
Specialized Topics: Safe Hospitals
Specialized Topics: Older Persons in Disaster Situations
Specialized Topics: Earthquake and Cholera Outbreak in Haiti
Specialized Topics: Population Displacement
Specialized Topics: Food and Nutrition in Emergencies
Specialized Topics: Donations and Humanitarian Aid
Pandemics and Public Health Emergencies of International Concern
Climate Change and Health
Disaster Myths
International Travel and Health
Accountability and Advocacy
Follow these Agencies on Twitter
  • Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, United States Agency for International Development - @theOFDA
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Emergency - @CDCEmergency
  • Disaster Information Management Research Center, U.S. National Library of Medicine - @NLM_DIMRC
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - @Federation
  • Pan American Health Organization, Disasters Area - @PAHOdisasters
  • World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization, Emergency Operations Center - @PAHOEOC
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - @UNOCHA
  • ReliefWeb, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - @ReliefWeb
  • U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior - @USGS
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce - @NOAA
  • Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) - @MSF_USA
  • Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado Boulder - @HazCenter
About the Disaster Information Specialization Certificate

The Medical Library Association (MLA) awards a Basic or Advanced certificate for completion of courses and other activities as part of the Disaster Information Specialization Program. Courses and activities that meet the requirements for a certificate are outlined in the Disaster Information Model Curriculum. Completing the course Health and Disasters: Understanding the International Context earns four hours of MLA continuing education credit which may be used towards the Advanced certificate. See Registration for details on documenting your completion of this class.
This course was first developed in 2012 as part of a Medical Library Association project (contract HHS-N-276-2010-00782-P) funded by the National Library of Medicine.