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Kirsch, Thomas, M.D., M.P.H.


     Associate Professor

     Director, Center for Refugee
     and Disaster Response (CRDR)

     Director of Faculty Practice, Department of Emergency Medicine.

University of Nebraska Medical Center ( M.D.)
Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health ( M.P.H. )

The Johns Hopkins Preventive Medicine Residency
George Washington University, Emergency Medicine Residency


Dr. Kirsch is the Director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Whiting School of Engineering.

He is a board-certified emergency physician and expert in disaster management and science, wilderness medicine and health care management. 

Dr. Kirsch has served as the National Physician Advisor for the American Red Cross Disaster Health Services, and has consulted on disaster-related issues for the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Pan American Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Emergency Management Agency,Earthquake Engineering Institute, Candian Red Cross, and the USAIDs' Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. 

He has real-life disaster experience from local incidents to hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the NYC response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and New Zealand and the 2010 floods in Pakistan. 

Dr. Kirsch has authored more than 60 scientific articles, dozens of abstracts, and 14 textbook chapters.  He also authored the disaster medical textbook, Emergent Field Medicine (VanRooyen-Kirsch).  He has presented at numerous national and international conferences.  He serves on the Editorial Board for the American Medical Association’s journal, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. He is a reviewer for the American Journal of Public Health, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Health Affairs, Emergency Medicine Reports, and the Annals of Emergency Medicine. 

In 2013 he recived the inaugural "Disaster Science Award" from the American College of Emergency Physicians.

He currently teaches the masters-level courses Introduction to Humanitarian Emergencies and Public Health Methods in Disasters at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and Austere Medicine at the School of Medicine, and directs a Disaster Fellowship.

Research Interests

1. Developing methods to measure the impact and quality of disaster response;
2. Working with the engineering community to assessing the impact on, and resiliency of healthcare systems in disaster (particularly earthquakes);
3. Creating physiologic triage tools to improve hospital resource utilization in a disaster response. 

Recent Publications

1. Kirsch TD, Perrin P, Burkle FM, Canny W, Purdin S, Lin W, Sauer L. Requirements for independent, community-based quality assessment and accountability practices in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities. Prehosp Disast Med 2012;27(3):1-6.
2. Mitrani-Reiser J, Mahoney M,  Holmes WJ, de la LLera JC, Bissell R, Kirsch TD. A functional loss assessment of a hospital system in the Biobío Province.  Earthquake Spectra 2012;29:67-71.
3. Kirsch TD, Leidman E,, Weiss WA, Doocy S. The impact of the earthquake and humanitarian assistance on household economies, livelihoods of earthquake-affected populations in Haiti. Am J Disaster Med, 2012;7(4):124-27.
4. Bayram J, Kysia R, Kirsch TD. Disaster Metrics: A Proposed Quantitative Assessment Tool in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies - The Public Health Impact Severity Scale (PHISS). PLoS Disasters 2012, in press.
5. Kirsch TD, Sapir D, Sauer L. International and US response to the Haiti earthquake– learning lessons. Dis Med and Pub Health Prep 2012, in press.
6. Kirsch TD, Siddiqi MA, Perrin PC, Robinson C, Sauer L, Doocy S. Satisfaction with the humanitarian response to the 2010 Pakistan floods: A call for increased accountability to beneficiaries. BMJ Emergency Medicine 2012, in press.

See Research Publications

Recent Grants

1. Principal Investigator: ‘Surge Capacity Networks ($1,005,780), PACER, DHS (USDHS (N00014-06-0991).


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