Global humanitarian response involves all health professionals. Pharmacists and nurses play a critical role in improving and providing humanitarian responses. However, there are very few formalized training programs in Humanitarian Assistance for practicing pharmacists and nurses. This First Edition of The Radical Humanitarian (TRH) provided innovative training to prepare pharmacists and nurses for critical roles in advancing care and service in Global Health and Humanitarian Assistance. 

“There is a desperate need for Radical Humanitarians. Stay humble and culturally sensitive.”


The 3-day workshop was jointly provided by the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and College of Nursing in partnership with emBOLDen Alliances (eA). The goal of this First Edition was to deliver a training program specific to the role of pharmacists and nurses in Humanitarian Assistance.

“I have always wanted to do humanitarian work, but have been afraid to cause more harm than good.TRH will help me be a responsible caregiver who provides excellent, ethical care.”


The Radical Humanitarian Conference was held Aug 17-19, 2017 at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

“This program made me think of the number of disasters that have occurred in my lifetime and how complex these situations are and the need for assistance.
My takeaway from the program was not to just show up to help but to link my involvement with a program that is coordinated with the humanitarian aid.” 


Thirty-two participants (14 Pharmacy, 16 Nursing,+ two others) attended the training.

“In order to help others, we need to first know what they want from us and not what we think they need.”

Program Objectives







      • Enhance the general knowledge and capacity of pharmacists and nurses about Humanitarian Assistance, including building familiarity with humanitarian guidelines, standards, and principles.
      • Prepare pharmacists and nurses for the critical role they play in advancing care and service during humanitarian response.
      • Provide and practice critical analysis skills necessary for emergency and rebuilding responses.
      • Create new leaders among pharmacists and nurses to improve the quality of Humanitarian Assistance provided.

So, What?

“To be effective, humanitarian aid needs to be a thoughtful, collaborative intervention. Humility and cultural understanding are key.”

Learner Objectives/Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, the learner was able to:

      • Define humanitarian assistance (HA); describe ethical dilemmas related to HA; and list effective strategies for implementation.
      • Recall the history of HA and describe its implementation process including principles and current guidelines and standards.
      • Describe team structures and roles and list essential drugs and health kits.  Apply this information.
      • Categorize types of inventory/donations, and other resources.  Define antibiotic stewardship.  Apply this knowledge.
      • Describe the role of pharmacists/nurses in short-term medical missions and construct plans for application of these roles after appropriate training.
      • Give examples of cultural sensitivity and the necessity of working with traditional healers.
      • Identify mental health and psychosocial support in programs and apply self-care.
      • Formulate next steps to sustain humanitarian efforts.

“I am thrilled and beside myself with satisfaction with the content of the program.”

And, click here to read more about one TRH nurse alum who deployed
shortly after TRH2017 finished to assist with Hurricane Harvey!