American Univesity of Beirut

Humanitarian Engineering: "Design of Engineering Solutions for Health Challenges in Crises"

​​​​​​​​Course, Hackaton, Field Work and Beyond​

The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) and the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (MSFEA) at the American University of Beirut are jointly offering the three-week course “Design of Engineering Solutions for Health Challenges in Crises", in collaboration with Boston University and Johns Hopkins University.​


This unique event builds on the success of the 2017 Summer School and 2018 Winter School on Humanitarian Engineering offered at AUB. The course encourages participants to engage in designing engineering solutions that would alleviate health challenges in protracted humanitarian crises. This course was designed to teach students how to identify and solve problems within both the academic and professional contexts. The course model is made of several components including interactive lectures and field visits to Syrian refugee settlements and facilities for interviews with care workers and refugees. Students work in teams to conduct needs assessments, identify problems, ideate, design, and prototype solutions.

Expected Time Commitment: Full-time participation from the 2nd to the 18th of Januray 2019.

Location: Participants will attend the course at the American University of Beirut campus. Participants will also conduct four field trips to Syrian refugees' informal tented settlements in Lebanon (site TBD).

Who may attend: Students (undergraduate and graduate levels in all related fields), faculty members, health practitioners, engineers, designers, innovators, and entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can apply.

Beyond the Hackathon: If interested, teams can continue to work together on an ad hoc basis and receive guidance from faculty and support from course coordinators for grant applications.

Course outcomes

At completion, participants should be able to:

  • Apply participatory needs assessment tools in humanitarian settings

  • Identify public health problems in humanitarian settings

  • Apply formal design processes from different disciplines for the design of relevant and feasible solutions and interventions given a set of constraints

  • Apply relevant appropriate technologies to prototype the designs

  • Use effective communication tools to promote the solution to a diverse audience

  • Work effectively in a team with diverse backgrounds and perspectives​

Course recognition and credit

All participants who complete the three-week program will receive a Certificate of Completion for the course.

Fees & credit 

Students from AUB can register the cross-listed course under any of the following:

  • PBHL 220 (GE social science),
  • BMEN 798CC (engineering technical elective/special topics course) or,
  • PBHL 320CC (public health technical elective)

Students from BU, and JHU should contact their local university about the possibility of formal university course credit and fees.
Practitioners please contact Ghena Hammour for more information.​


You can register and get additional information by emailing the course coordinators:

at AUB: Aline GermaniImad ElhajjGhena Hammour

at BU: Mohamad Zaman

at JHU: Youseph Yazdi

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