News and Events

For regular updates and more details about the work the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) is doing on Wheaton’s campus and around the world, like HDI on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.


2nd Annual Spiritual First Aid Summit - March 11, 2021

Registration is now open for the 2nd Annual Spiritual First Aid Summit on March 11, 2021 — the one-year anniversary of COVID-19’s declaration as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. This virtual event will be hosted by the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and Food for the Hungry, in collaboration with International Justice Mission.

As we enter the second year of the global pandemic, there is a deep need to mark time to endure our collective grief, to be equipped to help each other, and to embrace hope for what is ahead. The 2nd Annual Spiritual First Aid Summit will inspire and cast a vision for how Christians can help our churches, organizations, and communities to effectively navigate the next stage of the COVID pandemic.

Speakers include John Maxwell, Dr. Nicole Miller, Patrick Lencioni, and others. Attend the event to receive expert wisdom, practical resources, and uplifting guidance that can help you more effectively lead your communities during times of crisis or difficulty. Content will be available for on-demand access after the event for all who sign up.

Register for this free and online event at


Future speaking engagements will be added here as announced


HDI Launches The Better Samaritan Blog & Podcast at Christianity Today

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College recently launched The Better Samaritan, a new blog and podcast hosted at Christianity Today. On The Better Samaritan blog and podcast, HDI co-directors Kent Annan and Dr. Jamie Aten invite readers and listeners to journey with them as they explore how Christians can better love their neighbors by using their hearts and smarts. Learn more>

HDI Launches Spiritual First Aid Online Training & Certificate Course

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College has launched a new online Spiritual First Aid training and certificate course designed to help individuals offer virtual peer-to-peer spiritual and emotional support during COVID-19, disasters, and other challenging times. It is designed for lay leaders, church leaders, first responders, and anyone who would like to provide support to those who are struggling during the pandemic. Learn more>

Wheaton College's Humanitarian Disaster Institute Has Led Evangelical Response to COVID-19

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College has released a new six-month report detailing the impact of their COVID-19 response, which began nearly two weeks before the declaration of the global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Over the past six months, HDI has reached over 603 million people and trained 29,620 people around the globe. Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute to Host Town Hall Webinar for Back-to-School Addressing Mental and Spiritual Health Needs of Children and Teens 

As parents and educators continue to prepare for the back-to-school season during COVID-19, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College is helping churches learn how to best support the youngest in their communities. To answer looming questions in church leaders’ minds about how to support and equip young families during the pandemic, HDI is hosting a Town Hall Webinar on Spiritual & Mental Health for Children & Teens During COVID-19 on Thurs., Aug. 6 at 12 p.m. CDT in partnership with the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Partners with Healthcare Ready and World Impact on New Guide for Black Churches During COVID-19

As our country faces both a global pandemic and racial unrest, the importance of the Black Church as a catalyst for social change has never been greater. A new guide from the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College, created in partnership with Healthcare Ready and World Impact, provides a practical and Biblical resource to support the ministry of Black churches speaking and acting against racism while also protecting health. Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Released New Resources for Individuals Returning to Church

As churches across the country begin to reopen their doors for in-person services, the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College released a new suite of resources—including a manual, a checklist, and two decision tree tools—to help individuals and families discern when and how they can safely return to in-person church services. All can be found at Learn more>

Free Step-by-Step Guide for Reopening Churches Announced by Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College

To help churches address their individual needs, HDI released a Guide to Reopening Church Services manual. Based on both guidance from the Bible and the latest research, this free, research-based guide offers a step-by-step approach for resuming in-person ministries. Learn more>

M.A. in Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership Students Respond to COVID-19

When students from the M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership (HDL) started their program, they didn’t know how quickly they would be called upon to put their studies into action. COVID-19 may have significantly altered their final semester, but the M.A. in HDL students are stepping up to use their degrees to help their communities, build the church, and benefit society worldwide. Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute to Co-Host Spiritual First Aid Online Summit featuring N.T. Wright and Other Christian Leaders

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College will present the Spiritual First Aid Online Summit alongside Food for the Hungry, NavPress and Outreach, Inc. on Friday, April 30. Learn more>

Equipping the Church During COVID-19: Dr. Jamie Aten and the Humanitarian Disaster Institute

In the last few weeks, the HDI team has churned out resources, including a manual titled Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and an HDI-Coronavirus Webinar series. Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute & National Association of Evangelicals to Host COVID-19 Church Online Summit

HDI and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) are partnering to present the COVID-19 Church Online Summit, a free digital summit on March 26-27. The summit will feature videos from church leaders to help churches respond creatively and well to the coronavirus outbreak. Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Releases New Resources to Help Churches Prepare for COVID-19 

HDI released four new resources to help churches and church leaders prepare and respond to the coronavirus outbreak in their congregations and communities: an online resource hub; a Friday webinar series, “Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus,” kicking off Friday, March 13 at 12pm CT; a new manual, Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Step-by-Step, Research-Informed and Faith-Based Planning Manual; and a planning template. Learn more>

Jane Overstreet to Receive Second Annual HDI Leadership Award

HDI awarded Jane Overstreet, president & CEO of Development Associates International, the second annual HDI Leadership Award for “exemplary leadership in the humanitarian field over the entirety of her career.” Learn more>

Wheaton College Announces New Trauma Certificate

The School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy has partnered with the Humanitarian Disaster Institute’s M.A. in Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership to offer the new Trauma Certificate at the Wheaton College Graduate School. Led by Schultz and Dr. Jamie Aten, the Blanchard Chair of Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership, this nine-credit course will prepare mental health professionals to better care for those affected by traumatic events. Learn more>

First Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership Cohort Graduates This Year—All With Internships

All eight students in the HDL inaugural cohort have landed internships at prestigious organizations, including Samaritan's Purse, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Save the Children, World Relief, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Health Organization (WHO), Nashville International Center for Empowerment, the Office of U.S. Senator Tim Scott, and Church World Service. Learn more>

New Book Calls Christians to Welcome Refugees and Immigrants

In his new book, You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees and Immigrants Because God First Loved Us (InterVarsity Press), Kent Annan helps readers work through fears and misunderstandings around these issues and invites us into stories of welcome that lead us to see the current refugee and immigrant crisis in a new light that points us to the heart of the gospel. Learn more>

Kent Annan Joins Humanitarian Disaster Institute to Direct New MA Program

Kent Annan, cofounder of Haiti Partners and author of Slow Kingdom Coming (InterVarsity Press, 2016), After Shock (IVP, 2011), Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle (IVP, 2009) and the forthcoming You Welcomed Me: Loving Refugees and Immigrants Because God First Loved Us (IVP, November 2018), recently joined Wheaton College as director of Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership at the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI), where he will provide leadership for the new M.A. program. Learn more> 

Richard Stearns Awarded First Annual Humanitarian Disaster Leadership Award

HDI awarded Richard Stearns, retiring president of World Vision U.S., their first annual Humanitarian Leadership Award for “exemplary leadership in the humanitarian field over the entirety of his career.” His wife Reneé was also honored, in recognition of her own contributions in this field and her faithful support of her husband Rich and the work of World Vision. Learn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Holds Disaster Justice Forum on Pursuing Justice in the Wake of Disasters 

Wheaton College students and alumni, church groups, faculty and other community members gathered in Meyer Science Center to learn more about disaster ministry, justice and Wheaton's new M.A. degree in Humanitarian and Disaster LeadershipLearn more>

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Provides Disaster and Spiritual Emotional Care Training in Houston Following Hurricane Harvey

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a team from Humanitarian Disaster Institute traveled to Houston to engage with local church leaders involved in recovery efforts and lead a Spiritual First Aid training for responders. Learn more> 

Humanitarian Disaster Institute Launches New Master's Program in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership

We are thrilled to announce the official launch of our new master's program, the MA in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership at Wheaton College Graduate School! Set to begin classes in June 2018, this will be the first graduate program in the country to emphasize both humanitarian and disaster preparation grounded in an evangelical and faith-driven leadership. Learn more>

Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute Awarded $1.9 Million John Templeton Foundation Grant

Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) launched a $2.4 million research project, supported by a $1.9 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, to explore how adversity fosters human resilience and growth. Learn more>