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Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Disaster Studies and Global Resilience

Global resilience integrates appropriate responses to emergencies with the development of policies that strengthen health and emergency systems prior to the onset of large-scale events.

Research into global resilience within HCRI has three aspects:

  1. Overcoming limited and uncertain data in emergencies
  2. Humanitarian health research in the developing world
  3. Organisational preparedness for health and emergency professionals

Overcoming limited and uncertain data in emergencies

The Emergency Humanitarian and Medical Assistances cluster practice their work in an environment where analysis of the effectiveness of the response is limited by lack of data.

Tony Redmond is Chair of the Foreign Medical Teams Working Group at WHO/GHC, and works closely with colleagues internationally to address this and develop a minimum dataset for use in disasters as well as finding effective mechanisms for the collation, analysis and distribution of data internationally.

African lady receiving an injection
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent

He is also part of an international network that looks to improve the overall response to disasters internationally and the accountability of all those who respond. Tony Redmond is also working with the department of computing to develop the use of mobile phone technology for record keeping and data gathering in disasters.

Other research interests revolve around the analysis of crisis response, and disaster relief. In particular it addresses the epistemological questions on how mortality and morbidity data are established and how they are utilized, both in the field and in the public arena.

In addition, research ranges from the medical / humanitarian response to large-scale natural events to mitigation and preparedness using quantitative modeling techniques (e.g. utility theory, risk analysis) to support decision-making for highly uncertain scenarios.

Humanitarian health research in the developing world

The team has extensive experience in the design and conduct of relief operations in crises and disasters; in maternal and newborn health; in the design and evaluation of cluster randomised community-based interventions; and in the assessment of health care in sudden onset disasters and conflict areas.

The team’s multidisciplinary approach to health care and disaster response involves collaboration with a number of different agencies in high as well as low and middle-income countries, including India, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa, amongst others. Additional research interests include emergency medicine, the reproductive health of refugees and migrants, and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

HCRI research in this area seeks to assess best practices in health interventions in situations of humanitarian assistance and disaster response so as to improve not only medical expertise, but the humanitarian field more generally. Members are also currently engaged in the transfer of first world ambulance and emergency health services to the developing world.

Organisational preparedness for health and emergency professionals

Another special research interest is based on the provision of ambulance service and pre-hospital care systems, particularly with respect to developing countries. This includes the capacity to provide, lead and support a health response to disasters, integrating with international humanitarian assistance.

Interests here include the development of training and exercise programmes that improve decision-making capacity within emergency practitioners for low-probability high-impact events.

Members also collaborate with colleagues in the Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre to investigate the cost benefits of volunteering to work overseas and the application of appropriate technologies and processes to low/middle income countries.

This research can be used to encourage professionals to participate in humanitarian efforts around the world.


Rony Brauman, Maura Duffy, Paul Kailiponi, Tony Redmond, Darren Walter and Emilie Combaz.

  • People - find out more about our staff

PhD students

Obi Ojimiwe, Molly Maneck, Amy Hughes and Holly Schofield.

Key publications and resource

  • Brauman, Rony and Vidal, Claudine (2011) Natural Disasters : “Do Something”! In Claire Magone, Michael Neumann, and Fabrice Weissman (Eds) Humanitarian Negotiations Revealed (London: Hurst), pp. 219-235.
  • Burkle FM, Redmond AD, McArdle DF (2012) An authority for crisis coordination and accountability The Lancet, 379(9833): 2223-5.
  • Kailiponi, Paul (2009) Analysing evacuation decisions using multi-attribute utility theory (MAUT). First International Conference on Evacuation Modelling and Management (ICEM) 3: 163-174.
  • Redmond, Tony, O'Dempsey, Tim, and Taithe, Bertrand (2011) Disasters and a register for foreign medical teams The Lancet, 377(9771): 1054-55.