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The Center for Refugee and Disaster Relief

Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
Center for Refugee and Disaster Response

Our Mission

The Center for Refugee and Disaster Response builds capacity to improve the lives of refugees, displaced persons, and populations affected by disasters and conflicts worldwide. We train the leaders, conduct the research, and collaborate with partners to promote best practices in preparedness, response and recovery.

  • Education & Training to improve the capacity to respond to disasters and conflicts by training the leaders of humanitarian practice.
  • Research to improve the lives of those affected by emergencies by developing innovative, evidence-based practices.
  • Partnerships to strengthen the quality of humanitarian practice by providing technical expertise to our partners.

CRDR Names New Director 

Spiegel headshot

We are thrilled to welcome Paul Spiegel, MD, MPH ’96, a high-ranking official at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as our new director! Read more about Dr. Spiegel here



Center Updates

  • Registration is now open for the summer Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP) course. For more than 20 years, the HELP course has offered humanitarian workers an intensive training experience in public health principles and disaster epidemiology. The course was founded based on the need for humanitarian workers to acquire a holistic understanding of the needs of refugees, internally displaced persons, and others affected by natural disasters and conflict in order more effectively manage health crises in emergency settings. Learn more and register for the next session of the course, July 11-29.HELP 2016 group shot            Winter 2016 HELP cohort
  • What Happens When A Disaster Unfolds In Slow Motion: NPR Goats and Soda: CRDR Director Tom Kirsch comments on the difficulties of slow-moving disasters. 
  • Holistic Engineering in the wake of disaster: The Baltimore Sun: Center director Tom Kirsch and center associate and Whiting School of Engineering faculty member Judy Mitrani-Reiser are featured in an article about Dr. Mitrani-Reiser's novel engineering approaches to infrastructure protection in earthquakes and other disasters.

  • Stacy Jordan
    Update from Stacy Christopher, recipient of a CRDR scholarship for help with her MSPH internship with World Food ProgramDuring my internship with WFP, I have had the privilege to witness how a large, multilateral body like the UN tackles large scale emergencies. I think the most interesting lesson I have learned during my stay is how unpredictable funding for humanitarian operations can be. While I worked with WFP Jordan, the organization faced enormous budget cuts that drastically reduced the number of beneficaries we could support with food assistance. It was the wave of media attention on Syrian refugees risking their lives to reach Europe that helped restore the funding back to previous levels. I am currently work in the Emergency Operations Programme Unit in both monitoring/evaluation and vulnerability assessment. A few of my duties include analyzing and comparing different models that assess vulnerability to food insecurity among refugees, accompanying field monitors to conduct home visits and evaluate household food insecurity, monitoring WFP partners' focus group discussions to ensure quality and provide  feedback, and following up on operational issues raised in partners' and internal monitoring reports. My main responsibility is  coordinating vulnerable case referrals from WFP's hotline system to UNHCR.
  • DaveFellow
    We are pleased to welcome our newest fellow, David Scordino. David Scordino, MD stayed on in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine after completing his Emergency Medicine residency at Johns Hopkins as the incoming Disaster Medicine and Public Health Fellow in the Department of Emergency Medicine. David has worked in Haiti, Guyana, and Peru and has multiple national and international presentations and publications to his name. Dr. Scordino's interest focuses on disaster response and recovery, focusing on accountability of the donor's to the recipient population as well as on improving efficiency and reducing cost. Dr. Scordino is currently working to complete his MPH in May 2016.


  • MSF hospital bombed in Afghanistan
  • The Syrian Refugee Crisis

  • KushnerOperationHealth

    The Lancet reviewed Operation Health: Surgical Care in the Developing World, edited by CRDR faculty member Dr. Adam Kushner: Dr. Kushner..."has weaved science, evidence, global surgery, and public health in a journalistic, readable style. In this 100 page passionate and compassionate account of the importance of surgery for global health, Kushner’s editing was as sharp as his scalpel, but with the hope of good surgical outcomes for all." Read the full review here

  • Learning from Ebola: Reflections from the Frontline: Journalists and global health experts reflect on the Ebola outbreak as part of the annual Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-Pulitzer Center Symposium on Thursday, September 17. Read more and RSVP here.

  • It's Not New Orleans That Most Worries Disaster Experts US News: Experts worry that the lack of preparedness in disaster-free communities may prove "the tripwire for catastrophe.” Local leaders have an essential role to play in ensuring communities that lack the ingrained disaster response culture of cities like San Francisco and New Orleans will be ready when disasters strike. CRDR faculty Lauren Sauer comments.
  • Center faculty member Tener Veenema is currently serving as the senior expert advisor to the TOMODACHI Initiative, a Johnson & Johnson Disaster Nursing Initiative working in collaboration with Children’s TOMODACHI_JHUSONNational Medical Center. In June 2015, she traveled to Japan to teach disaster nursing, work with survivors of the Tsunami in the Miagi prefecture, and present on international disaster response and disaster nursing leadership at the American Embassy and Johnson & Johnson Japan Headquarters in Sendai, Japan. In August, Dr. Veenema hosted the TOMODACHI visitors at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, where the students were introduced to the school’s Center for Global Initiatives and took part in discussions surrounding the nurse’s role in disaster preparedness and response (above, the Daily SON).

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