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Disaster Fellowship

doctor helping patient


To train academic leaders of disaster preparedness and response.

Program Description:


  • To acquire knowledge of public health and disaster-related issues through the acquisition of a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree
  • To understand key areas of disaster management and humanitarian response
  • To have the ability to conduct clinical research related to disaster and humanitarian response
  • To develop and conduct educational activities for physicians, medical students and allied health professionals
  • To learn the skills of Austere Medicine by integrating emergency medicine with international health and disaster medicine

The curriculum for the Disaster Fellowship integrates formal public health, research and teaching training with disaster-related field work. The curriculum will be divided into five specific areas:

Public Health Training: 

The core of the didactic curriculum involves obtaining an MPH from the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  There are many learning tracks in the school, but an emphasis is placed on the disaster/humanitarian track and epidemiology.  The fellowship schedule is more flexible for applicants already with an MPH degree.

Disaster Field Work: 

Practical experience is a key component of the Fellowship. Fellows will spend time each year both in disaster and other austere settings as determined by events and their schedule. Field work will be arranged and coordinated by the fellow under the supervision of the Fellowship Director. 


Public speaking and teaching skills are essential to leadership development.  Supervised educational training will take place in lecture, bedside and scenario settings in order to develop a variety of teaching skills. Fellows are given the opportunity to teach in classes at the School of Public Health, in the residency program and as part of the Johns Hopkins Austere Medicine course.


Research will emphasize innovations in disaster science. There are a wide variety of faculty in the Schools of Medicine and Public Health to mentor fellows in research methodology and implementation.  Each fellow will complete at least one research project related to their work, of sufficient quality for publication.

Clinical Emergency Medicine:

Fellows work 800 clinical hours per year as faculty at one of the three core hospitals of the JHU Department of Emergency Medicine.  The fellow will participate in other academic activities in the Department of Emergency Medicine, including grand rounds presentations, conferences and literature reviews.

Academic Requirements:

  1. Fellows will be expected to produce at least 1 peer reviewed research manuscript at completion of fellowship program.
  2. Fellows will successfully complete an MPH degree at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  3. Fellows will successfully complete two months as teaching attending at the JHU over the two years.


  • Board certified or prepared in Emergency Medicine
  • Ability to obtain medical license in Maryland, USA
  • Ability to obtain a clinical appointment at a Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Ability to matriculate to the Bloomberg School of Public Health for a Masters in Public Health degree

Program Length:

2 years

Start Date:

Usually July 1, but mid-year candidates can be considered

How to apply:

Interested candidate should contact the Fellowship Director for more information and should provide:

  1. Personal Statement and CV
  2. 2 letters of recommendation
Thomas D. Kirsch, MD, MPH

Fellowship Director:

Thomas D. Kirsch, MD, MPH
Co-Director, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine and
The Bloomberg School of Public Heath, Department of International Health

Dr. Kirsch is a disaster and humanitarian researcher and educator, with ‘real world’ experience responding to emergencies to provide services and conduct science. Within the past three years he has worked on Hurricane Sandy with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, earthquakes in Chile and New Zealand with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), in Pakistan with the World Health Organization (WHO), on developing guidelines for Foreign Medical Teams with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Most recently he was the co-leader of an independent assessment of the U.S. government’s response to the Haitian earthquake sponsored by the Department of State’s Agency for International Development.  His research is multi-disciplinary in nature, incorporating expertise from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and the School of Engineering.

Additional Information:

See the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response website at