Course SyllabusWar and Health

Course Home Page



This course on War and Health teaches about the consequences of war and violence on human health, through online didactics and peer trainings. The course, intended for medical and public health trainees and practitioners, provides students the opportunity to learn about and practice techniques that may reduce those tragic consequences, with the collaboration of globally-available peers and local mentors. All components of this training (like all NextGenU.org trainings) are free, including registration, learning, testing, and the granting of a certificate of completion.

There are 8 modules to complete through online study and peer-to-peer activities. These modules provide an overview of the direct effects of war on public health, as well as indirect effects such as the displacement of native people and interpersonal violence. They will also address strategies to cope with these effects, and will address some of the root causes of war and violence such as poverty and injustice.

There are practice quizzes in each module, and at the end of the course you will complete a final exam, and be asked to provide your assessment of this training. You will receive all test results, including the final exam, and peer activity evaluations. We can report your testing information and share your performance results with anyone (your school, employer, etc.) you request. We hope that you will find this to be a rewarding, effective, and enjoyable learning experience. The assessment that you provide at the course’s conclusion will help us improve the training for future students.

This course is co-sponsored by: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, the European Medical Peace Work NetworkPhysicians for Social Responsibility, the University of Gezira, and the University of Haifa. Like all NextGenU courses, it is competency-based using competencies adapted from the European Medical Peace Work Network. In addition, the course uses resources from accredited, world-class organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the United Nations, and the World Health Organization.

The course co-developers are: Erica Frank, MD, MPH; Yasmin Kassam, MPH candidate; and Sarah Youngblutt, PhD candidate, supported by an Advisory Committee composed of: Thomas L. Hall, MD, DrPH; Shai Linn, MD, DrPH; and Dr.med. Klaus Melf, MPhil.

For a publication on this course’s efficacy, see “Building Public Health Capacity through Online Global Learning,” (2018), Open Praxis, https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/746/427; to see more research related to NextGenU.org’s educational model, check out NextGenU.org’s publication page.

Begin the course with Module 1: Health Workers, Conflict, and Peace

Module 1: Health Workers, Conflict, and Peace


Competencies covered in this module:
  • Learn the basic terminology for public health issues in war and health 
  • Describe the magnitude and impact of violence in a global context
  • Know the types of interventions and policy responses that have been tried against violence
  • Learn the potential and limitations of health workers in preventing and mitigating conflict 
  • Consider the place of public health in humanitarian aid and peace-building 
  • Understand human rights issues around war and health
  • Develop skills required to teach emergency preparedness to students in the health care professions

Module 1: Lesson 1


Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the different sources of violence and appropriate public health worker responses
  • Learn about the role of and constraints on health workers in preventing and/or mitigating destructiveness
  • Consider the place of public health in humanitarian aid and peace building
  • Become familiar with The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • Learn a process and list competencies for the skills necessary for teaching emergency preparedness to students in the health care professions


Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
    QuizzesAssignments
      Discussions
        Questionnare

          Module 2: Medicine, Health and Human Rights


          Competency covered in this module:
          • Understand the relationships between health care, medicine, and human rights

          Module 2: Lesson 1


          Learning Objective

          • Understand the relationships between health care, medicine, and human rights

          Required readingsOptional readings
            Peer Activities
              QuizzesAssignments
                Discussions
                  Questionnare

                    Module 3: War, Weapons and Conflict Strategies


                    Competencies covered in this module:
                    • Be able to describe how war, weapons, and strategies of violent conflicts impact health
                    • Gain knowledge of basic international humanitarian law, human rights, and the ethical codes that regulate health professions
                    • Examine the link between the different weapons used in war
                    • Learn about biological and chemical weapons and understand how governments prepare responses to such weapons
                    • Learn about the direct and indirect consequences of landmines on public health
                    • Learn about firearms as a public health concern

                    Module 3: Lesson 1: Weapons and Health


                    Learning Objectives
                    • Understand the health effects of war as well as the weapons and strategies of violent conflict
                    • Become familiar with the range of weapons used in modern warfare
                    • Examine the wide-ranging social issues associated with war
                    • Gain a basic understanding of international humanitarian law, human rights and the ethical codes that regulate the health professions
                    • Examine the link between different weapons used in modern wars and their potential to injure civilians

                    Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                      QuizzesAssignments
                        Discussions
                          Questionnare

                            Module 3: Lesson 2: Biological and Chemical Weapons


                            Learning Objectives
                            • Learn about biological and chemical weapons, including why their development, production and use are problematic and hazardous to those who would seek to use them and their victims
                            • Understand how and why governments seek to prevent the use of biological and chemical weapons and prepare and develop response plans as an integral part of national emergency and public health plans

                            Required readingsOptional readings
                              Peer Activities
                                QuizzesAssignments
                                  Discussions
                                    Questionnare

                                      Module 3: Lesson 3: Landmines


                                      Learning Objective
                                      • Learn about the direct and indirect consequences of landmines on public health

                                      Required readingsOptional readings
                                        Peer Activities
                                          QuizzesAssignments
                                            Discussions
                                              Questionnare

                                                Module 3: Lesson 4: Firearms


                                                Learning Objective
                                                • Learn about the public health concerns regarding firearms

                                                Required readingsOptional readings
                                                  Peer Activities
                                                    QuizzesAssignments
                                                      Discussions
                                                        Questionnare

                                                          Module 4: Nuclear Weapons and War


                                                          Competencies covered in this module:
                                                          • Learn about the history of nuclear weapons
                                                          • Understand the role of health care professionals in anti-nuclear weapon campaigns
                                                          • Consider the historical and contemporary perspectives on nuclear arms control from world leaders
                                                          • Learn about the public health issues caused by nuclear war
                                                          • Consider the risks involved if terrorists were to obtain nuclear weapons
                                                          • Learn about the major treaties regarding nuclear weapons
                                                          • Consider the aftermath of a nuclear attack on a major metropolitan area

                                                          Module 4: Lesson 1: Nuclear weapons


                                                          Learning Objectives
                                                          • Learn about the history of nuclear weapons
                                                          • Learn about the impact of health care professionals in anti-nuclear weapon campaigns
                                                          • Learn about the major policy obstacles faced by nuclear-armed states that might wish to eliminate their weapons
                                                          • Learn about the real and lasting threats from nuclear war on public health

                                                          Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                                                            QuizzesAssignments
                                                              Discussions
                                                                Questionnare

                                                                  Module 4: Lesson 2: Nuclear power and health


                                                                  Learning Objective
                                                                  • Learn how nuclear power generation impacts the health of local populations

                                                                  Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                                                                    QuizzesAssignments
                                                                      Discussions
                                                                        Questionnare

                                                                          Module 5: Structural Violence and the Underlying Causes of Violent Conflict


                                                                          Competencies covered in this module:
                                                                          • Examine the relationships between poverty, development and violent conflict
                                                                          • Consider the underlying causes of structural violence
                                                                          • Learn about the relationship between structural violence and clinical medicine

                                                                          Module 5: Lesson 1


                                                                          Learning Objectives
                                                                          • Examine the relationships between poverty, development and violent conflict
                                                                          • Examine the underlying causes of structural violence at both the local and global levels
                                                                          • Become familiar with the terminology of development and core issues such as poverty, inequality and health as a basis for understanding the underlying causes of structural violence at both the local and global levels
                                                                          • Learn about the relationship between structural and clinical medicine

                                                                          Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                                                                            QuizzesAssignments
                                                                              Discussions
                                                                                Questionnare

                                                                                  Module 6: Peace through Health in Violent Conflict


                                                                                  Competencies covered in this module:
                                                                                  • Learn about the relationships between medicine, warfare, and militarization
                                                                                  • Understand how armed conflicts affect the provision of medical aid
                                                                                  • Consider peace-building through improving health care

                                                                                  Module 6: Lesson 1


                                                                                  Learning Objectives
                                                                                  • Become familiar with the ways in which health professionals promote peace, prevent conflict, and decrease its effects in multiple ways
                                                                                  • Consider alternative approaches to peace-building through health care

                                                                                  Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                                                                                    QuizzesAssignments
                                                                                      Discussions
                                                                                        Questionnare

                                                                                          Module 7: Refugee and Migration Challenges


                                                                                          Competencies covered in this module:
                                                                                          • Understand the immediate public health needs of refugees and immigrants
                                                                                          • Develop skills for the provision of culturally sensitive health care
                                                                                          • Learn about the common mental health problems of immigrants and refugees

                                                                                          Module 7: Lesson 1


                                                                                          Learning Objectives
                                                                                          • Learn about the health and well-being needs of refugees and immigrants
                                                                                          • Become aware of the psycho social impacts of violent conflicts and their aftermath, including the journey into exile
                                                                                          • Develop skills in the provision of culturally sensitive health care and address ethical dilemmas in relation to health and refugee work
                                                                                          • Learn how physicians in host countries can meet the complex medical needs of refugees
                                                                                          • Learn about the mental health problems common to immigrants and refugees and the associated primary care

                                                                                          Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                                                                                            QuizzesAssignments
                                                                                              Discussions
                                                                                                Questionnare

                                                                                                  Module 8: Prevention of Interpersonal & Self-Directed Violence


                                                                                                  Competencies covered in this module:
                                                                                                  • Define the different types of conflict-related violence, including community violence, domestic violence, and suicide
                                                                                                  • Describe the risk factors and prevention strategies for each type of violence
                                                                                                  • Learn about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), specifically when it starts and how affected individuals can be helped
                                                                                                  • Learn the best practices to address violence during and after a disaster
                                                                                                  • Learn how to respond to violence through early and proactive action using a public health approach
                                                                                                  • Become familiar with the terminology and best practices to prevent and respond to self-directed violence (SDV)

                                                                                                  Module 8: Lesson 1


                                                                                                  Learning Objectives
                                                                                                  • Examine the origin and the extent of different types of violence, including community violence, domestic violence and suicide
                                                                                                  • Identify the risk factors as well as the prevention strategies for each type of violence
                                                                                                  • Learn what is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), when it starts, and how to help those who are affected by it
                                                                                                  • Learn the best practices to address violence during and after a disaster 

                                                                                                  Required readingsOptional readingsPeer Activities
                                                                                                    QuizzesAssignments
                                                                                                      Discussions
                                                                                                        Questionnare

                                                                                                          Final Exam

                                                                                                          Required readings
                                                                                                            Optional readings
                                                                                                              Peer Activities
                                                                                                                QuizzesAssignments
                                                                                                                  Discussions
                                                                                                                    Questionnare

                                                                                                                      Course and Self Evaluation & Certificate

                                                                                                                      Your feedback will help us make NextGenU better.

                                                                                                                      Required readings
                                                                                                                        Optional readings
                                                                                                                          Peer Activities
                                                                                                                            Quizzes
                                                                                                                              Assignments
                                                                                                                                Discussions
                                                                                                                                  Questionnare