The READY Initiative, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the Centre for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins University and the Geneva Center of Humanitarian Studiesare pleased to announce the relaunch of its COVID-19 & Humanitarian Settings webinar series. Now occurring monthly, these webinars will feature a series of panels examining some of the controversial and under-explored issues affecting the COVID-19 pandemic in humanitarian settings. Each panel will welcome experts from across the sector and around the globe.You can find a list of upcoming dates and topics below. If you are interested in attending a webinar, please click on the registration link at the bottom of this invitation.

You can view webinar recordings from the previous series here.


“Why is COVID-19 NOT transmitting in humanitarian settings as expected…or is it?”

Wednesday, 14 October 2020, – 8-9am EST/2-3pm Geneva

COVID-19 data in humanitarian settings are generally incomplete and limited. Consequently, models for these contexts have mostly used data from non-humanitarian settings, and their results do not appear to reflect the reality on the ground.  What is really happening with COVID-19 in humanitarian emergencies? Can we use other settings to gain insights?  Do we have any seroprevalence surveys?


Dr. Paul Spiegel, Professor and Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health

Paul Spiegel, a Canadian physician by training, is internationally recognized for his research on preventing and responding to humanitarian emergencies with a focus on refugee crises. He is the Director of the Center for Humanitarian Health and Professor of Practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH).  Before Hopkins, Dr. Spiegel was a Deputy Director and Chief of Public Health at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.


Dr. Altaf Musani, WHO Representative for Yemen, World Health Organization

Altaf Musani has worked at WHO in humanitarian emergencies in numerous countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and most recently as the WHO Representative in Yemen. He previously worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Shaun Truelove, Assistant Scientist, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Shaun Truelove is an Assistant Scientist in the Department of International Health at JHSPH. His work focuses on infectious disease epidemiology, and disease dynamics and modeling. As part of the Center for Humanitarian Health, he has co-led an initiative to provide SARS-CoV-2 modeling and epidemiology support to humanitarian partners, including UNHCR, OCHA, and MSF.

Dr. Sandra Harlass, Senior Public Health Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Sandra Harlass is a public health specialist with more than 18 years of experience. She has worked in different countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. Sandra has worked with UNHCR for the last six years and is currently based in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where she is heading the health and nutrition team as a Senior Public Health Officer.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical Lead and Head of Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit, World Health Organization 

Maria Van Kerkhove is an American infectious disease epidemiologist. With a background in high-threat pathogens, she specializes in emerging infectious diseases and is based in the Health Emergencies Program at WHO. She is the technical lead of the COVID-19 response and the head of the Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit at WHO.

Register in advance for the first webinar on Oct 14th:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Below is the list of upcoming webinars:

Wed, November 11
0800-0900 EST
“Which health services in humanitarian settings should we NOT provide during COVID-19?”
Wed, December 9
0800-0900 EST
“The shielding approach in humanitarian settings: was it and will it EVER be fit for purpose?”
Wed, January 13
0800-0900 EST
“What is the ROLE of humanitarian NGOs in the COVID-19 pandemic?”

To complement this initiative, COVID-19 Humanitarian, an open access, web-based platform, has been created to promote and value the collection and sharing of field-based COVID-19 programme adaptations and innovations, facilitating learning among organizations in different sectors and contexts.