Risk, Resilience, and Response

HHI's research on Risk, Resilience and Response examines the impact of complex humanitarian emergencies and aims to find ways to improve resilience and response. Explore the individual programs below to learn more about this work. 

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Risk, Resilience, and Response

Gender, Rights and Resilience

Investigates and addresses issues relating to gender, peace, and security in fragile states

Non Communicable Diseases

Seeks to address the heavy burden of chronic disease in humanitarian settings

Emergency Health Systems

Emergency Health Systems

Works to bridge the gap between system development and humanitarian response and improve the quality and access of emergency care for those who need it most

Peace and Human Rights Data

Conducts research and builds capacity in countries experiencing complex emergencies and serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law

Man with map

Infectious Diseases and Epidemics Program

Aims to reduce the impact of infectious disease on vulnerable populations

Urbanization and Resilience

Investigates urban environments and crises to allow individuals, households, communities and cities to thrive

Program on Resilient Communities

Evidence and advocacy to bolster community resilience to disasters and climate change

Children in Crisis

Addresses the critical needs of crisis-affected children and youth in humanitarian context

Related Publications

Jocelyn Kelly, Emily Ausubel, Emma Kenny, Meredith Blake, Christine Heckman, Sonia Rastogi, and Vandana Sharma. 9/2021. “Measuring gender-based violence risk mitigation in humanitarian settings: results from a comprehensive desk review and systematic mapping.” BMJ Open. Read PublicationAbstract

Objectives: To systematically document measurement approaches used in the monitoring and evaluation of gender-based violence (GBV) risk mitigation activities, categorise the types of available literature produced by sector, identify existing tools and measures and identify knowledge gaps within the humanitarian sector.

Design: Systematic mapping and in-depth review.

Data sources: Pubmed, Global Health, PsychInfo, ReliefWeb, OpenGrey (grey literature), Google Scholar, Web of Science (Social Science Index)

Eligibility criteria: a structured search strategy was systematically applied to 17 databases as well as registers, websites and other resources to identify materials published between 1 January 2005 and 15 May 2019.

Data extraction and synthesis: Those resources that met the inclusion criteria underwent a comprehensive full-text review. A detailed matrix was developed and key data from each resource were extracted to allow for the assessment of patterns in thematic areas.

Results: A total of 2108 documents were screened. Overall, 145 documents and 112 tools were reviewed, representing 10 different humanitarian sectors. While numerous resources exist, many lack sufficient information on how to monitor outputs or outcomes of GBV risk mitigation activities. There is also limited guidance on how to integrate the measurement of GBV risk mitigation into existing monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Those reports that aimed to measure GBV risk mitigation activities mostly employed qualitative methods and few measured the impact of a GBV risk mitigation with robust research designs.

Conclusions: Recent efforts to adapt humanitarian response to COVID-19 have highlighted new and existing challenges for GBV risk mitigation. There is a significant gap in the evidence base around the effectiveness of GBV risk mitigation across all sectors. Understanding and strengthening measurement approaches in GBV risk mitigation remains a critical task for humanitarian response.

Indi Trehan, Sean M. Kivlehan, Kamna S. Balhara, Joseph Bonney, Braden J. Hexom, Amelia Y. Pousson, Nana Serwaa A. Quao, Megan M. Rybarczyk, Anand Selvam, Benjamin D. Nicholson, Nidhi Bhaskar, Torben K. Becker, and Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Group. 7/2021. “Global Emergency Medicine: A Scoping Review of the Literature from 2020.” Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Read PublicationAbstract

Objective: To identify, screen, highlight, review, and summarize some of the most rigorously conducted and impactful original research and review articles in global emergency medicine (EM) published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed and gray literature.

Methods: A broad systematic search of peer-reviewed publications related to global EM indexed on PubMed and in the gray literature was conducted. The titles and abstracts of the articles on this list were screened by members of the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review team to identify those that met our criteria of original research or review articles in the domains of Disaster and Humanitarian Response, Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings, and Emergency Medicine Development. Those articles that met these screening criteria were then scored using one of three scoring templates appropriate to the article type. Those articles that scored in the top 5% then underwent in-depth narrative summarization.

Results: The 2020 GEMLR search initially identified 35,970 articles, more than 50% more than last year’s search. From these, 364 were scored based on their full text. Nearly three-fourths of the scored articles constituted original research, of which nearly three-fourths employed quantitative research methods. Nearly 10% of the articles identified this year were directly related to COVID-19. Research involving Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings again constituted most of the articles in this year’s review, accounting for more than 60% of the literature scored. A total of 20 articles underwent in-depth narrative critiques.

Conclusions: The number of studies relevant to global EM identified by our search was very similar to last year. Revisions to our methodology to identify a broader range of research were successful in identifying more qualitative research and studies related to Disaster and Humanitarian Response. The number of COVID-19-related articles is likely to continue to increase in subsequent years.

Indi Trehan, Sean M. Kivlehan, Kamna S. Balhara, Joseph Bonney, Braden J. Hexom, Amelia Y. Pousson, Nana Serwaa A. Quao, Megan M. Rybarczyk, Anand Selvam, Benjamin D. Nicholson, Nidhi Bhaskar, Torben K. Becker, and Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Group. 7/2021. “Global Emergency Medicine: A Scoping Review of the Literature from 2020.” Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Read PublicationAbstract

Objective: To identify, screen, highlight, review, and summarize some of the most rigorously conducted and impactful original research and review articles in global emergency medicine (EM) published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed and gray literature.

Methods: A broad systematic search of peer-reviewed publications related to global EM indexed on PubMed and in the gray literature was conducted. The titles and abstracts of the articles on this list were screened by members of the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review team to identify those that met our criteria of original research or review articles in the domains of Disaster and Humanitarian Response, Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings, and Emergency Medicine Development. Those articles that met these screening criteria were then scored using one of three scoring templates appropriate to the article type. Those articles that scored in the top 5% then underwent in-depth narrative summarization.

Results: The 2020 GEMLR search initially identified 35,970 articles, more than 50% more than last year’s search. From these, 364 were scored based on their full text. Nearly three-fourths of the scored articles constituted original research, of which nearly three-fourths employed quantitative research methods. Nearly 10% of the articles identified this year were directly related to COVID-19. Research involving Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings again constituted most of the articles in this year’s review, accounting for more than 60% of the literature scored. A total of 20 articles underwent in-depth narrative critiques.

Conclusions: The number of studies relevant to global EM identified by our search was very similar to last year. Revisions to our methodology to identify a broader range of research were successful in identifying more qualitative research and studies related to Disaster and Humanitarian Response. The number of COVID-19-related articles is likely to continue to increase in subsequent years.

Agnes Usoro, Benjamin Aiwonodagbon, Jonathan Strong, Sean Kivlehan, Babatunde A. Akodu, and Ayobami Olufadeji. 8/2021. “Perspectives on the current state of Nigeria’s emergency care system among participants of an emergency medicine symposium: a qualitative appraisal.” BMJ Open. Read PublicationAbstract

Emergency care systems provide timely and relevant care to the acutely ill and injured. Published commentaries have characterised deficiencies in the Nigerian emergency care system and offered potential solutions but have not included the perspectives of the Nigerian public. A more inclusive approach that includes feedback from the public may help improve the Nigerian emergency care system through better understanding of the needs, values and expectations of the community.

The participants in this study identified shortcomings and opportunities to improve prehospital care, hospital care and health system governance. The results of this study may help healthcare professionals, policy makers and community leaders identify gaps in the emergency care system and offer solutions in harmony with the needs, values and expectations of the community. If successful, these community-informed interventions may serve as a model to improve emergency care systems throughout Africa.

Luissa Vahedi, Jessica Anania, and Jocelyn Kelly. 8/2021. Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19 in Fragile Settings: A Syndemic Model. Read PublicationAbstract
The long-standing pandemic of gender-based violence has been worsened by COVID-19 and related containment measures, particularly in fragile settings marked by conflict, poverty, and weak infrastructure. At the same time, the implementation of gender-insensitive COVID-19 control policies can exacerbate the community transmission of COVID-19. These interactions form a syndemic—two or more pandemics whose interactions compound the severity of each. This report identifies the key avenues through which these two pandemics have synergistic effects and offers recommendations for mitigating their impact.
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Recent Posts

More reciprocal, cohesive local collaborations needed for disaster risk reduction in the Philippines

Massachusetts, USA — For the Philippine disaster risk reduction (DRR) system to further strengthen and be sustainable, local humanitarian actors need to conduct more cohesive and reciprocal collaborations with each other, researchers from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) have recommended based on their recent study.

“Local organizations are best placed to prepare for and respond disasters. Our research suggests that international aid agencies continue to play a large role in the network of Philippines disaster agencies, pointing to the need to build greater ties...

Read more about More reciprocal, cohesive local collaborations needed for disaster risk reduction in the Philippines
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