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

Photo of Dr. Thomas D Kirsch, M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, (CRDR)

Professor of Emergency Medicine


Expertise: Emergency Medicine

Research Interests: Disaster preparedness and response; Creating physiologic triage tools to improve hospital resource utilization in a disaster response; Working with the engineering community to assess the impact on, and resiliency of healthcare systems in disaster (particularly earthquakes); Developing methods to measure the impact and quality of disaster response more


Thomas Kirsch, M.D., M.P.H., FACEP, is a professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also a 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 New York City 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 received the inaugural Disaster Medical Sciences 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. more


  • Director, Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, (CRDR)
  • Director of Faculty Practice, Department of Emergency Medicine
  • Professor of Emergency Medicine

Departments / Divisions



  • MD, University of Nebraska College of Medicine (1984)


  • George Washington University School of Medicine / Emergency Medicine (1990)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Emergency Medicine / Emergency Medicine (1991, 2010)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

His recent research has focused on assessing the quality of disaster response and improving the medical and public health response capacity. He is also the second editor of an international health textbook (Emergent Field Medicine). He serves on the Editorial Board for the American Medical Associations journal, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness and is a reviewer for the Annals of Emergency Medicine and was the editor of the international section of the Annals of Emergency Medicine from 1995-2000.

Recent Grants

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

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Kirsch TD, Siddiqui 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 Emerg Med J 2013;30:565-571.

Leidman E, Doocy S, Aung T, Kirsch TD. Household economic and food security after the 2010 Pakistan floods, Food and Nutr Bull; 2013; 34(1):95-103.

Mitrani-Reiser J, Giovannezi S, Kirsch TD, Jacques C, Wilson T, McIntosh J. Resilience of the Canterbury Hospital System to the 2011 Christchurch (Mw=6.2) Earthquake, NZ. Earthquake Spectra 2014; 30(1): 533-54.

Sugarman J, Kass N, Rushton CH, Hughs MT, Kirsch TD. Translating Professional Obligations to Care for Patients with Ebola Virus Disease into Practice in Non-Epidemic Settings. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2015 Oct;9(5):527-30. doi:10.1017/dmp.2015.61.

Activities & Honors


  • Delta Omega Honorary Public Health Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Alpha Chapter, 2006
  • Invited Lecturer: Eighth Annual Symposium; Voyage and Discovery Lecture Series, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD, 2006
  • Hurricane Katrina: Testimony before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittees on Health and Oversight and Investigations, U.S. House of Representatives (Chairman; Deal and Whitfield), Washington, D.C.,, 2005
  • Roundtable Discussion: Hurricane Katrina Testimony before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, U.S. Senate (Chairman; Enzi and Kennedy), Washington, D.C., 2005
  • Disaster Services Professional Service Award, American Red Cross, 1995
  • Keynote Address, Society of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine Annual Meeting Taipei, Taiwan, 1995
  • Hospital Service Award, District of Columbia Hospital Association, 1990


  • American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
  • American Public Health Association (APHA) 
  • Explorers Club, 2005
  • Society of Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM)
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