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Violent Conflict, Population Displacement and Health

Syrian refugees listening to announcement at charity collecting point in copenhagen railroad station. Photo: Storyblocks

The world is facing unprecedented levels of displacement, with more than 65 million people currently uprooted. In 2015, roughly 12.4 million people were newly displaced due to conflict or persecution, an average of 24 people every minute. The public health impact of conflict and displacement is vast. Rising numbers of refugees and displaced people requiring health services, combined with the protracted nature of modern conflicts, have created new health needs and challenges.

Alongside well-known public health consequences—increased mortality, higher risks of malnutrition, and spread of infectious diseases—many displaced people require longer-term care for chronic conditions in protracted conflicts. Conflict and displacement also put existing healthcare and social services under strain. In 2013, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported that 86% of refugees and displaced people were hosted in developing countries. Where the health infrastructure is already fragile, this can lead to a breakdown in provision of services.

In 2002, the World Health Organization published a seminal report on Violence and Health, demanding greater attention from public health professionals to examine the causes and consequences of violence and to develop preventive strategies.

Led by Dr. Khoshnood, several faculty at Yale School of Public Health are involved in teaching and research on the negative health consequences of violent conflict and forced displacement. Dr. Khoshnood works closely with the Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses at the Yale MacMillan Center.


EMD 540 - Responding to Violent Conflict: Epidemiological Methods & Public Health Interventions
Course Instructor: Kaveh Khoshnood
This course explores the application of epidemiological methods to understand specific health consequences of violent conflicts, including infectious diseases, mental health, maternal/child health, and chronic health problems. The course has a focus on the Middle East and North Africa region.

Faculty of Interest