Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)


PAATCHH is composed of North American universities and NGOs, each of which has its own humanitarian health training programs as well as its own network of foreign institutional partners.

The Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies at Brown University aims to promote a more just, peaceful, and secure world by furthering a deeper understanding of global human rights and humanitarian challenges, and encouraging collaboration between local communities, academics, and practitioners to develop innovative solutions to these challenges.


  • Promote rigorous, interdisciplinary research in both human rights and humanitarianism, and explore both synergies and tensions between these fields
  • Reimagine the education and training of the next generation of humanitarian and human rights researchers, educators, and responders 
  • Support human rights and humanitarian programming that engages faculty, visiting scholars, and practitioners from communities around the globe to explore current crises and share best practices
  • Enable students -- undergraduate, graduate, and medical -- to become engaged in human rights and humanitarian work through action-learning (internship) opportunities
  • Leverage our alumni network to support current students in areas of mentorship, professional development, career placement, and inspiration. 

Case Western Reserve University

CWRU continues to be a leader in education and fieldwork related to humanitarian professionalism. Under the direction of Karen Olness, the program began teaching problem-based workshops on disaster management in the US and various developing countries in 1996. The program workshops are primarily focused on the special needs of children and families. Disaster management workshops have been taught in 17 resource poor countries including Pakistan, India, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Nepal and Syria. Some of the ongoing collaborations include: KhonKaen University Thailand, Lao National University in Laos, and Makerere University in Uganda. In addition to educational programs in disaster management, CWRU faculty have worked in the the field to help children and families in disasters. These include work in Thailand (Lao refugees), El Salvador (post-earthquake), Albania (Kosovo refugees),  Sudan (internally displaced people in Darfur), Southern Thailand (post tsunami), Haiti (post-earthquake) and many more.

The current program director is Denise Bothe MD and current plans include the continuation of training on the special needs of children and families in disasters in Cleveland, the organization of a workshop on the special issues of displaced children with disabilities in Mumbai in 2017 and a five day workshop on “Management of Disasters: focus on children and families" in Abuja, Nigeria in 2018 and a new edition of the manual on "How to Help the Children in Humanitarian Emergencies".

In collaboration with University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Division of International Emergency Medicine and under the direction of Dr. Justin Yax, MPHP 540 “Operational Aspects of International Disaster Relief” has been offered since 2016 as an elective in the CWRU Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics to Case Western Reserve MD, MPH and Undergraduate students.  This 40-hour workshop serves as a platform for future humanitarian workers to learn, in detail, the UN Cluster approach to humanitarian response, and how to apply minimum standards for WASH, Shelter, Nutrition and Health in natural and complex emergencies. Sphere adjuncts are also introduced such as minimum standards for education, economic recovery, child protection, and LEGS (Livestock in Emergencies). 

Cornell University

The Weill Cornell Global Emergency Medicine Division is committed to advancing disaster preparedness, humanitarian response and clinical emergency medicine in low and middle income countries. Since 2006, the division has partnered with governmental agencies, academic institutions and international NGOs in South Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

The Global EM Division is engaged in a wide variety of educational initiatives including the Global Health Emergencies Course(since 2011), the Emergency Management Exercises (EMEx) in India (since 2008), and the Weill Cornell Wilderness Medicine Electives (since 2005). In addition, the program offers courses to first year and fourth year medical students at Weill Cornell and supports the monthly Global Health Grand Rounds. Current projects include the provision of training and research support to partners in countries affected by the Syrian crisis; and the implantation of the 3T approach (training, task shifting and technology) to advance health care access in resource poor settings.

Emory University

Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health has offered courses focusing on humanitarian emergency responses since 2002.The School of Public Health offers a certificate program that includes education through the courses listed above, hands on training, and a research component.

Emory University is also committed to forming both domestic and international partnerships. The university partners with the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the CDC and collaborates with USAID programs and NGOs around the world. The university also forms new international relationships through a fellowship program. The fellowship program sponsors a Fellow from a resource-constrained country to come to Emory and earn a Master’s in Public Health with a focus on humanitarian emergency response. Emory University realizes the PAATCHH mission through its commitments to education, training, research, and collaborative partnerships.

Fordham University

The Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) at Fordham University was created in 2001. The IIHA is committed to professionalizing the humanitarian workforce, improving humanitarian assistance through research, and promoting the implementation of evidence-based practice. To this end, the IIHA offers highly regarded practical and academic humanitarian education, forges partnerships with relief organizations, hosts symposia related to humanitarian assistance, and conducts research relating to complex emergencies and humanitarian responses. The IIHA places particular emphasis on the important role of aid-workers and organizations from the global south.

The IIHA promotes humanitarian education at both the undergraduate and the graduate level. At the undergraduate level, the IIHA offers an International Humanitarian Affairs major and minor. Students learn the academic and theoretical frameworks of humanitarian crises and responses through classroom teaching, international fieldwork, and internship placements. At the graduate level, the IIHA offers a Master’s Degree in International Humanitarian Action (MIHA). Like the undergraduate curriculum, the graduate degree is comprised of both academic and practical training. The MIHA encompasses four modules: the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance, the International Diploma in the Management of Humanitarian Action, the International Diploma in Operational Humanitarian Assistance and the International Diploma in Humanitarian Leadership. These modules are offered in over 15 countries throughout the world, which allows students to combine academic training with fieldwork, and also allows students to gain a global perspective necessary for humanitarian relief. Additionally, with training centers around the world, the courses are more easily accessible to aid workers from the global south.

Harvard University

The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is a university-wide interdisciplinary center involving multiple departments including public health, medicine, social science, and management, among others. These disciplines come together through the initiative to promote evidence-based practices, improve the delivery of humanitarian aid through training and professionalization of the humanitarian workforce, supporting disaster preparedness and response systems in low and middle-income countries, and creating new partnerships between academic centers and humanitarian actors.

The mission of the HHI is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide. Specifically, they work to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian strategies for relief, protection and prevention, instill human rights principles and practices in these strategies, and educate and train the next generation of humanitarian leaders.

The HHI provides graduate-level courses in humanitarian studies and more than 500 students have completed the Humanitarian Studies Initiative training program. The Humanitarian Academy at Harvard was launched in May 2012, to expand research and education capactity through training undergraduate students, graduate students, and current leaders of humanitarian service organizations in areas of human rights, disaster response, humanitarian service delivery, crisis leadership, and other sub-disciplines within humanitarian studies.

Institute for International Medicine

The Institute for International Medicine (INMED) is an education center offering learning resources to equip healthcare professionals and students to serve the world's most forgotten people:

Johns Hopkins University

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland, is a contributing member of the PAATCHH Consortium and is an emerging global leader nursing education. Its nursing programs, currently under the leadership of Martha N. Hill, seek to prepare nurses to work globally in any area of the world.The school reaches both graduate and undergraduate students through courses such as “Around the World: Preparing for Global Nursing,” “Health Emergencies in Large Populations,” and “Forensic Nurse’s Role in Mass Casualty/Disaster Response.” Another course, in undergraduate public health nursing, includes an international clinical component, bringing students to Haiti to work in collaboration with local NGOs.

This student engagement is mirrored in faculty engagement through research in multiple countries. Currently, School of Nursing faculty are conducting research on the subject of gender-based violence (GBV) in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo well as in the Virgin Islands (in collaboration with the University of the Virgin Islands’ (UVI) Caribbean Exploratory Research Center (CERC)). Within the greater Johns Hopkins community, the School of Nursing also collaborates with the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health through on-the-ground work.

McGill University

The Humanitarian Studies Initiative (HSI) based in Montreal, Quebec is a multi-disciplinary program affiliated with the Department of Family Medicine at McGill University. Training programs for HSI are delivered through Humanitarian U, a professional humanitarian training organization led by McGill Family Medicine's Dr. Kirsten Johnson (MD MPH), and are dedicated to providing competency-based, expert designed and performance measured programs. Humanitarian U's training modules include various self paced online programs, as well as annual face to face training sessions and intensive simulation based exercises. With online training solutions, students are able to access HSI content on the go, whether here in Montreal or abroad, at any time of the day. Students receive hours of online content, with every detail developed over the last 10 years by an international team of experts, focused on preparing students for deployment. At the end of a module, students receive an in-depth report, identifying strengths, weaknesses and next steps.

The HumanitarianU team holds active partnerships with renowned academic and professional humanitarian experts, who draw upon experience in countless international organizations and institutions. Some of our key academic partners include the Harvard Humanitarian Health Initiative (HHI), Massachusetts General Hospital Global Disaster Response, Tufts University and right here at home throughout McGill University.

Together, we are dedicated to finding innovative and collaborative solutions to the most pressing challenges of humanitarian work, and to providing the next generation of humanitarians with the most effective and accessible training. To sign up for HSI Programs, or questions regarding curriculum, partnerships, costs, and the Humanitarian U advantage, please go to www.humanitarianu.com.

Tufts University

The Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, located outside of Boston, Massachusetts in the town of Medford, is a national leader in research and teaching on humanitarian issues and is a proud member of PAATCHH. The center’s offerings include a Masters in Humanitarian Assistance as well as courses in both Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Each year, over 100 graduate students take courses through the center.Additionally, the center has long-term research programs in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nepal, Sudan, and Uganda focusing on issues ranging from human rights and security to nutrition and livelihoods. Tufts invests up to $6 million annually on this research, sourcing much of this funding from non-Federal sources.

The Feinstein International Center has established relationships with numerous international humanitarian organizations. Currently, they are associated with USAID’s missions in Ethiopia and Sudan; have formal partnerships with universities in Ethiopia, Nepal, and Sudan; and have partnerships in Uganda with both the national Human Rights Commission as well as various community-based human rights groups.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University has been supporting humanitarian training in surgery and anesthesia since 2008 under the leadership of Mark Newton, MD. The goals of the Vanderbilt International programs, which include both the Vanderbilt International Anesthesia Program and the Vanderbilt Initiative for Global Health, have been to assess anesthesia and surgical needs and infrastructure, and provide appropriate education and technology solutions for non-urban areas of Africa. These efforts have also focused on integrating opportunities for surgery and anesthesia residents and Vanderbilt medical students to build the next generation of culturally sensitive and appropriately trained humanitarian anesthesiologists and surgeons. The Vanderbilt training is unique because of the specific focus on surgery and safe anesthesia. Surgery, Anesthesia, Perioperative Care, Acute and Chronic Pain Management represent growing needs in low-income countries as the burden of surgical disease continues to grow. In recent disasters the role of surgery for emergency and essential surgical problems has been amplified, but as well the challenges for surgeons and anesthesiologists without humanitarian training have been apparent. The larger goal of the Vanderbilt programs is to offer humanitarian core competencies, with specific skill competencies for surgeons and anesthesiologists who will be offering care and follow up in resource constrained environments.

Vanderbilt offers a history of academic excellence and a commitment to the underserved, as well as a commitment to leadership in new and emerging areas.  Under the stewardship of the Vanderbilt Anesthesia, Surgical and Emergency Medicine Communities, in countries such as Kenya, Guyana and Guatemala, the program endeavors to prepare the next generation of humanitarians for their role in safe emergency medicine, anesthesia and surgical delivery. With the goals of preparing humanitarian competencies, Vanderbilt is also committed to providing appropriate trauma care, emergency and essential surgery.