News Release 

COVID-19 in humanitarian settings and lessons learned from past epidemics

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

April 8, 2020 -- "COVID-19 in Humanitarian Settings and Lessons Learned from Past Epidemics" published in Nature Medicine, invokes a global response to protect the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors make the point that displaced populations, including refugees and migrants, are often the first to be stigmatized and unjustly blamed for the spread of disease, yet they are also among the most vulnerable people during a pandemic--to both the virus itself and the measures enacted to control it. The paper draws on the collective field experience of Columbia Mailman School of Public Health faculty in the Program on Forced Migration and Health who are currently deployed in the field engaged in the humanitarian response and health systems strengthening.

The authors, who comprise a multi-disciplinary group of academics and practitioners, including physicians, epidemiologists and lawyers, aim to share some of the lessons learned from past epidemics to inform a more effective, inclusive COVID-19 response that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable.


Read the paper in Nature Medicine

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Founded in 1922, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Columbia Mailman School is the seventh largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its nearly 300 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change and health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with more than 1,300 graduate students from 55 nations pursuing a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs. The Columbia Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers, including ICAP and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.