Thomas D. Kirsch


Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Military and Emergency Medicine
Director, National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
Disaster health and public health
Emergency medicine
Office Phone


Bachelor of Arts (BA), Fine Arts, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
Doctor of Medicine (MD), University of Nebraska School of Medicine, Omaha, NE
Internship in General Surgery, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, NYC, NY
Master of Public Health (MPH), Epidemiology/International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Preventive Medicine Residency, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Emergency Medicine Residency, Georgetown/George Washington University Combined Program, Washington, DC


Dr. Thomas Kirsch is the Professor and Director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health at the Uniformed Services University. Before coming to NCDMPH he was a Professor of Emergency Medicine, International Health and Civil Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

He has responded to or conducted research in disasters including hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey (USA), and Haiyan (Philippines); earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, New Zealand, and Nepal; floods in Pakistan; Ebola epidemic in Liberia; and the NYC 9-11 terrorist attacks. He has worked for national and international organizations including the CDC, FEMA, Department of State, the WHO, PAHO and UNICEF, and American and Canadian Red Cross.

Dr. Kirsch is a globally recognized researcher and educator who has lectured extensively around the world and taught numerous courses in disaster health and public health. He has authored over 150 scientific articles, editorials, and textbook chapters, and has also published essays in The Atlantic, Washington Post, JAMA, PCT Communicator, and Health Affairs.

President Obama recognized him in a White House ceremony as one of the Nation’s, ‘Heroes in Healthcare Fighting Ebola’ (2014). The American College of Emergency Physicians awarded him the inaugural ‘Disaster Science Award’ (2013), and he received the Clara Barton Award for Leadership from the American Red Cross (2014).

Tom’s hobbies include reading, writing, and walking. He has hiked over 900 miles in the Grand Canyon and completed a 1,000 mile walk through the Sierra Nevada Mountains a few summers ago.

Career Highlights: Positions, Projects, Deployements, Awards and Additional Publications

Recognized by President Obama at the White House for ‘Heroes in Healthcare Fighting Ebola’ (2014)

Inaugural ‘Disaster Science Award’ from the American College of Emergency Physicians (2013)

Clara Barton Award for Leadership from the American Red Cross (2014)

Representative Bibliography

L Upton, TD Kirsch, M Harvey, D Hanfling. Health care coalitions as response organizations: Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Dis Med Pub Health Prep. 2017;11 (6), 637-639.

Kirsch TD, Schlegelmilch J, Strauss-Riggs K, Chandler T, Redlener I. Regions respond to catastrophes. Dis Med Public Health Prep. 2017;11(4):360-3.

Kirsch TD, Keim M. US governmental spending for disaster-related research, 2011-2016: Characterizing the state of science funding across five professional disciplines. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2019:13(5-6):912-19. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2019.14.

Kirsch T, Keim ME, Strauss-Riggs K. Characterizing the Current State of Training Courses Available to US Disaster Professionals. Dis Med and Public Health Prep, 2019; 13(5-6):920-26. doi:10.1017/dmp.2019.15.

Kirsch TD, Moseson H, Massaquoi M, Nyenswah TG, Goodermote R, Rodriguez-Baraquer I, Lesser J, Cumings D, Peters DH. Impact of interventions and the incidence of Ebola Virus Disease in Liberia—implications for future epidemics. Health Policy and Planning 2017;32(2):205-214.

Reed P, Laib J, Strauss-Riggs K, Kirsch TD. Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Competencies and Training Pertinent to the Military Health System. J Mil Learning. 2020:4(1):19-35.

Kirsch TD, Strauss-Riggs K, Reed P, Sauer L. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that Impact Disaster Health Research. Am J Disaster Medicine. 2020. Doi:10.5055/ajdm.2020.000.

Barnett DJ, Knieser L, Errett NA, Rosenblum AJ, Seshamani M, Kirsch TD. Reexamining Health Care Coalitions in Light of COVID-19. Disaster Med Public Health Prep, 2020. doi: 10.1017/dmp.2020.431.

Peleg K, Bodas, M, Hertelendy AJ, Kirsch TD. The COVID-19 Pandemic Challenge to the All-Hazards Approach for Disaster Planning, Intl J Disaster Risk Reduction, 2021;(55):1-5.

Barnett DJ, Strauss-Riggs K, Klimczak VL, Rosenblum AJ, Kirsch TD. An Analysis of After Action Reports From Texas Hurricanes in 2005 and 2017. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2020; doi:10.1097/PHH.0000000000001120.