2016 International Humanitarian Crisis Simulation to be held Sept 9-11 2016


About this project:

The Humanitarian Crisis Simulation is a 3 day experience that is designed to immerse participants in an environment typical of humanitarian crises. The exercise begins with interactive sessions that cover important concepts, core standards, and best practices in humanitarian aid. The simulation will equip participants with knowledge, experience and skills that will assist them in working in any humanitarian crisis.

Participants are then divided into interdisciplinary teams representing multiple emergency response (ER) teams. ER teams must apply their skills and knowledge to assess a fictional area experiencing a humanitarian crisis. They will be expected to develop a plan to address the many problems of the region, including malnutrition, poor infrastructure, insecurity and violations of human rights. ER teams will experience living conditions that are common for professionals working in these conditions.

The exercise is developed and administered by professionals with extensive experience in humanitarian crisis management. The framework for the simulation is based on the Sphere standards for best practices in Humanitarian Aid with a special emphasis on the management of medical issues.

Who should attend:

  • Physicians and other professionals who are engaged in, or considering a career in humanitarianism.  Register here http://www.dom.umn.edu/global-health/education-training/courses/person/humanitarian-simulation
  • University of Minnesota graduate and professional students. Register through One Stop.
    • Students can earn one credit through the Humphrey School of Public Affairs course PA 5824 – Crisis Simulation or through the School of Public Health course PubH 6290 International Humanitarian Crisis Simulation
      Participants will gain:
    • Knowledge of fundamental principles, minimum standards and best practices in Humanitarian Aid
    • Opportunities to apply their professional skills and knowledge in a realistic scenario
    • Opportunities to interact with other professionals involved in humanitarian aid 
Contact:  umnsim@umn.edu
About the Humphrey School and School of Public Affairs courses:

This course offers introductory training in the practice of and global policy issues surrounding international humanitarian crises, a growing area of global concern and also a growing area of jobs for HHH graduates. Student interest is potentially strong; many HHH students focus on human rights, security studies or international development and career entry in those fields not infrequently comes through early work experience in humanitarian response situations.  Thus training in this area can be useful for career development and—as the work can be difficult, dangerous, and/or demoralizing--participants learn through the course whether such work/this field is something they might manage.  As increasingly each crisis turns into a continuing development scenario (refugee camps become cities, diseases cross boundaries permanently, natural disasters alter landscapes), a course like this helps students studying issues of development, urban/regional planning, environmental sustainability, and global politics understand basic background to many existing cases. 

Students learn and practice humanitarian crisis response skills reflecting international standards through a multi-day, humanitarian dynamic crisis simulation. The course includes training in international crisis response standards (SPHERE) and population assessment, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) for refugee camps, nutrition,  interactive shelter design and planning, the international legal basis for humanitarian response, safety and security issues  (refugee and NGO worker relationships, camp structure and environment, military/militia, situational awareness), psychosocial trauma awareness,  and field hospital scenarios. This 1-credit course includes a pre-simulation class meeting, on-site sector skill training and  field  crisis simulation (Friday-Sunday), a post-simulation class meeting (circa one week of the simulation), and a final reflection paper.

History of this project:

This simulation was originally offered as part of Humphrey School of Public Affairs course PA 5821: Humanitarianism taught by adjunct instructor Eric James of the American Refugee Center (2010-2011). In 2013 as the simulation grew into a larger event than could be reasonably added on to a regular course, we separated the crisis simulation into its own free standing course, offered together with faculty in the UMN Medical School Global Health Program.  The course was offered in this form three times (May 2013, September 2014 and 2015) and the next simulation is scheduled for September 9-11 2016.  Humphrey students have been put into teams with global health and Mayo Clinic students (medical students, residents and doctors pursuing Continuing Medical Education credit) and students from other UMN colleges (Engineering, Design, Social Work, Nursing, Public Health, MSST) to work on a simulated international humanitarian crisis. 



In 2015 there were five University of Minnesota courses for academic or continuing medical education credit running simultaneously as part of this simulation: PubH 6290 International Humanitarian Crisis Simulation, GEOG 8290 - Crisis Mapping, JOUR 5991 Communicating International Crisis, and University of Minnesota Department of Medicine Global Health 26.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.™  Students in PA 5824 have been put into teams with students in other courses throughout the simulation, and some pre- and post-simulation activities were jointly taught.


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