3.-Academic structure and content

The EMMPHID is one year course of 60 ECTS. The course will be taught mainly in English (some parts can be taught in french and spanish) and its structure has three components: (I) The Common Disaster Core Component at Universidad de Oviedo (Oviedo, Spain); (II) An Specialiced Track Component with two options for the students: Public health response to disaster at Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) or the Epidemiology and Research at Université catholique de Louvain (Brussels, Belgium); and (III) The Internship and Master’s Thesis.

The Common Disaster Core Component is a 20 ECTS course study at Universidad de Oviedo mandatory for all the students. The Masters will kick-off with an introductory two-week Module of 2 ECTS covering topics on disaster concepts and terminology and continues with an 18 ECTS Module focused on disaster risk assessment, risk management and risk reduction, the main disaster response systems and the study of disaster types.

The Track Component is a specialized component where students will be assigned to one of the following options:

  • Option A – Track in Public health response to disasters developed at Karolinska Institutet and aimed to serve the educational need of disaster related professionals planning to work in disasters health response as well as those with previous experience from this field. In this track the students will first attend a Module 1 of 10 ECTS which includes in-depth focus on understanding and analysing the pre-disaster health contexts, the global burden of disease and other factors that determine the variations in health status. Then the students will attend Module 2 (10 ECTS) of Public Health response to Disasters focused on how to analyse specific disasters and how plan, design and deliver public health in different disasters and contexts This module aims at providing sufficient knowledge for the students to plan for the public health response to disasters and to understand how to deliver primary, secondary as well as preventive services, using different modalities in order to mitigate public health problems in disaster situations. It emphasises how to analyse the effects of the disaster, using different methods including needs assessments and how to, analyse plan an adequate public health response. The course builds on empirical experience from a number of disasters. Case studies and interactive exercises will be used as part of teaching the content highlighting the challenges of the resources scarce context, including problems related to security and ethics. This module will also include a block on how to plan for and carry out a Master Thesis –focusing on the disaster context.
  • Option B – Track in Epidemiology and Research at Université catholique de Louvain focusing on the application of epidemiological research in disaster issues. Students in this track will instead follow the Statistics part of the Advanced Disaster Epidemiology and Research Methods module and, due to the research oriented focus of this track it will also include a special Master Thesis preparatory course of 5 ECTS. The advanced research methodological module has special interest for the disaster related professionals interested in disaster research or in academic and educational aspects. Students will then complete 15 additional ECTS. The aim of this advanced module is provide the students with the required theoretical and practical knowledge to assess the impact of disasters on health and investigate the factors that contribute to increase these impacts. They will be specifically taught on survey and advanced epidemiological methods used to analyse this data, such as logistic regression. In addition advanced courses with practical exercises and lab work will cover sample size calculations in complex situations, advanced methods for case-control, cohort, and ecological studies, building on the basics already provided to the students in the first semester. Aspects of weighting, measures of association and stratification will be taught. Students will receive in addition strong grounding in qualitative methods as quantitative techniques are not always appropriate or indeed, applicable in situations of high insecurity or high population mobility. Finally, there will be two courses that will cover specific epidemiological applications and public health issues in emergency settings. The first will include the specific implications related to mental health, reproductive and gender-based violence will be covered from both public health perspectives as well as the international legal frameworks that govern response. Assessment of nutritional status will be covered in depth, including novel techniques for assessing nutrition. The second course will set the emergency applications in the broader setting of development. The students will receive lectures on the interactions between development economics and for example food aid in emergency and non-emergency situations. Here the connections between, nutrition, food and household economics will also be discussed. Other topics include demographic methods and their implications in assessing population mortality, anthropological aspects of health in developing countries including attitudes towards disease and health seeking behaviour. Other determinants of health such as maternal education and poverty will be discussed in depth to provide the students strong contextual frame within which the methods are articulated.

The track chosen in this field doesn’t imply that the student will finally be assigned to the selected strand. It will depend on the student’s profile and also on the specific requirements of each institution. The final decision will be taken by the Consortium of Universities who will decide the final strand of each student.

The final component of the EMMPHID course includes two complementary moments:

  • A hands-on, practical internship, in which they will collect the data for their Masters Theses. Internships will be co-tutored by the Masters supervisor and an external person belonging to the associated partner. All the students will fulfil an internship period, with a maximum of two students staying at each associated partner, subject to availability of places.
  • A Master’s Thesis and written report of the student’s personal work, aimed at developing independent and scientific thoughts and applications. Master Thesis will be connected to the activities developed during the internship and one chapter of the Master Thesis will describe the Internship activities and the outcomes that may be relevant to the Thesis. The research topics will be suggested by the students before starting the Master course. Based on the topic for the thesis, the supervisor and associated centres will be decided on and the thesis adapted accordingly. The thesis will be supervised by a PhD Professor belonging to any of the partner Universities and may also be co-directed by a professor or tutor from the associated organization where the student carries out the thesis’ data collection.

The EMMPHID subjects and credits are summarised in the following table:

Universidad de Oviedo CORE
  • Introductory course (2 ECTS)
  • Evaluation, Management and Disaster Risk Reduction (7 ECTS)
  • Types of Disasters (3 ECTS)
  • General Disaster Response (8 ECTS)
Karolinska Institutet RESPONSE
  • Public Health Response in Disasters (20 ECTS)
Université Catholique de Louvain RESEARCH
  • Advanced Disaster Epidemiology and Research Methods (20 ECTS)
  • Internship (5 ECTS)
  • Master Thesis (15 ECTS)