Skip Burkle

Professor Burkle is Senior Fellow & Scientist, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard University and Harvard School of Public Health, and former Senior Scholar and now Senior Associate Faculty and Research Scientist, the Center for Refugee & Disaster Response, Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutes. He is a Senior International Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, DC (2008-present). In 2002 he received a White House Appointment to serve as Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Global Health at US Agency for International Development, US Department of State that included appointment as the first Interim Minister of Health in Iraq in 2003 during the planning and immediate crisis period. From 1989 to 2000, he was Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery and Public Health and Chairman of the Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Surgery, University of Hawaii Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He served as Professor, Department of Community Emergency Health & Paramedic Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University Medical School, Melbourne, Australia from 2006-2010 and is currently an Adjunct Professor; and, as a Clinical Professor of Surgery and Adjunct Professor in Tropical Medicine at the University of Hawaii. He is Adjunct Professor, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences and the School of Nursing, and Honorary Professor, the Humanitarian & Conflict Response Institute, University of Manchester, UK. He served as the Senior Advisor in Medicine and Public Health for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and as a Research Scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He is a honor graduate of Saint Michael's College (1961) and the University of Vermont College of Medicine (1965). Dr. Burkle holds post-graduate degrees from Yale, Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of California at Berkeley, a Diploma from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in Health Emergencies in Large Populations, and a Diploma In Tropical Medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland. He is Board qualified in Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and Psychiatry and holds a Master's Degree in Public Health.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics, and received the Emergency Physician of the Year Award in 1999 from the Governor of Hawaii. Dr. Burkle was the founder and Director of the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance from 1994-2000 a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for humanitarian civil-military cooperation, the only one so designated.

Professor Burkle has published over 240 scientific practice and policy articles [Practice: PUBMED: Burkle F; and ResearchGate: Frederick Burkle], multiple abstracts, 71 book chapters , multiple abstracts and four books, three on disaster management including Disaster Medicine: Applications for the Immediate Management and Triage of Civilian and Military Disaster Victims in 1984. He has worked in and consulted on numerous humanitarian emergencies and large-scale international disasters in Asia, Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe and serves as an International Health Delegate to the Red Cross. He served as Joint Civil-Military Liaison for the Kurdish Crisis in southern Turkey, northern Iraq, and Baghdad, and again in the humanitarian crisis in Somalia where he also served as a UN Delegate to the 3rd Somalia Conference in Ethiopia. In 1996, he headed a global health assessment for the International Rescue Committee in the former Yugoslavia, Central Africa, Thai-Cambodia Border, Asia and Pakistan and in 1999 was a member of the Presidential Delegation to Kosovo. In 2003 he served the US State Department as the Senior Medical Officer in Iraq on the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and as Senior Advisor for WHO on Health Emergencies in Liberia, and currently as a consultant for WHO-Health Action in Crises.

He is a member of the Board of Directors and Overseer of the International Rescue Committee, the world's largest refugee NGO headquartered in New York City and was their Executive Medical Director in 1999. He served as the elected Chair of the National Disaster Life Support Consortium of the American Medical Association for 4 years and is currently a member of the Science Advisory Board of the American Red Cross, Washington, DC and the Steering Committee of the London based collaborative network: Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELHRA).

            Dr. Burkle was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2007, and named a Woodrow Wilson International Public Policy Scholar in 2008. In 2009 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, Honoris Causis, from Saint Michaels College. He has received numerous "Excellence in Teaching" and humanitarian service awards. These include the prestigious William Crawford Gorgas Medal for "distinguished work in preventive medicine, groundbreaking work in disaster management and humanitarian assistance and the training of an entire generation of U.S. and international personnel”, the Saint Michael’s College Colonel Donald G. Cook (Medal of Honor Winner) Award for Humanitarian Service “the highest honor for alumni it recognizes those who unselfishly give of themselves in the service of others”, and the Humanitarian Award from the International Federation of Emergency Medicine. In 2005 he received the University of Vermont, College of Medicine Alumni Association Award for Community Service in Medicine for his “distinguished career in humanitarian and military service.” In 2012 he was selected to present the Joseph Leiter Lectureship at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. This award, presented every two years recognizes “research and instruction to outstanding service and leadership and professional recognition that supports and encourages the best and brightest in the field.” In 2014 he received the Disaster Medical Sciences Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians and named to the Board of Scientific Counselors, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2015 his research on casualty estimates in nuclear war, shared with colleagues from the University of Georgia, was selected by the Nobel Laureates to be presented at their Nobel Laureate Summit in Spain. In 2016 he gave the Commencement Address at the Saint Michael’s College graduation in Vermont.

            He is a frequent keynote and panel speaker at major universities and conferences, including WHO, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Global Forum in Davos, Switzerland, National Institutes of Health, the Hyogo Declaration Regional Symposium and the World Bank. He has published widely in The Lancet, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Brown Journal of World Affairs, Columbia University Journal of International Affairs, Harvard International Review, PLos, PLos Disaster Currents, Prehospital & Disaster Medicine (Editor for Humanitarian Affairs), Disaster Medicine & Public Health Preparedness , BMJ, Critical Care, Pediatric Critical Care, CHEST, New England Journal of Medicine, Conflict & Health, JAMA PEDS and others .He is Editor of the Special Issue on Ebola for DMPHP (2015-16).

In addition to multiple humanitarian missions in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Balkans, Dr. Burkle served as the Medical Director of the last Viet Nam orphan lift out of the former Saigon in 1975 and with International Services of the American Red Cross in the Kurdish Crisis in Iraq in 1992. A retired Captain (0-6) in the U.S. Naval Reserve he completed combat tours in the Vietnam War (1968), the Persian Gulf War (1991) and Somalia (1992) with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions, and with the US Central Command in Somalia. He received two early promotions and served as the Senior Medical Officer of the al Khanjar Trauma Center (largest trauma center ever built in the history of the US Marine Corps) during the 1991 Persian Gulf War (PGW). His awards include two Bronze Star Medals (Viet Nam and PGW) one with Combat "Valor" (1968 Viet Nam), Combat Action Ribbon (Viet Nam), Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Citation (2 awards), Vietnamese Meritorious Medical Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal (2 awards),and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.

Back to Top


Mustafa Kamal Sikder

Dr. Sikder studied long-term and short-term drinking water supply interventions...

Read More

Eileen Shields-West

Eileen Shields-West served as a correspondent of TIME Magazine and San Francisco...

Read More

Jason M. M. Spangler

Jason M. M. Spangler, MD, MPH, FACPM is Executive Director of Value, Quality,...

Read More

Natalia Golub

Natalia completed her MD, PhD training at the University of Rochester School of...

Read More

Michel J.J. Thieren

Dr Michel Thieren began his career in 1989 with Médecins sans...

Read More