Dr. Robert Ditch is a retired Air Force Colonel and a 40 year volunteer firefighter/chief fire officer/ paramedic veteran and homeland security/emergency management instructor. He has been a first-responder and Federal disaster responder/planner at numerous domestic and international disasters, including service in the FEMA Headquarters Operations Center, three DOD Joint Task Forces, on both FEMA and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services medical response/command teams for over a dozen Federally declared disasters; the Haiti earthquake, eight major hurricanes responses including Katrina/Rita and recent Sandy disasters, a New England-wide Ice Storm, the 2002 Winter Olympics, two Presidential Inaugurations, five State of the Union Addresses. From 1993-1994 he served as the United Nations Medical Director in Somalia managing the multi-national health and medical response while directing the response to 95 casualty generating events, to include directing the three-day mass casualty operations as depicted in the move Black Hawk Down. He was also the first arriving DOD officer on the scene on 9/11 in New York City, providing direct liaison from “Ground Zero.” In 2010 he served as the U.S. Federal Health & Medical Planner in Haiti following the devastating earthquake. He is an author of a book on terrorism response and numerous articles/research documents on disaster response and emergency management. He has also been a National Public Radio guest speaker on terrorism response and planning. He has been awarded both the 2008 and 2013 National EMS Educator of the Year Awards and has received multiple states Governor, national and international educator awards for EMS/Fire instruction.
Dr. Ditch has taught a full-spectrum of both undergraduate and graduate courses in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Emergency Management, Clinical Paramedicine, and Homeland Security for GW, the National Defense University/Joint Forces Staff College, the University of Maryland, and American Public University. In addition, he has traveled all around the nation teaching counter-terrorism/weapons of mass destruction response, pandemic planning, bioterrorism, and disaster response for Texas A&M University’s Engineering Extension Service, Louisiana State University, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Domestic Preparedness. He is also an emergency management and incident command/management instructor for FEMA and the States of Arizona and Virginia. He is the Academic Advisor for two paramedic academies and is the director of a National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) training center. He serves on the Academic Review Committee for the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLS) and the Education Committee for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. In addition, he serves on the faculty and is a course reviewer for the American Council on Education and the Continuing Education Coordinating Board on EMS.