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When Death Approaches

About Thomas

Thomas BurkeThomas Burke, MD, FACEP is Director of the Division of Global Health and Human Rights of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Emergency Medicine, and faculty at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Burke has extensive experience in the public health arena as a senior emergency physician, a faculty member and researcher, and as a leader in the nonprofit sector directing medical education work overseas since 1994.

Dr. Burke's efforts through his Division have been principally focused on Women and Children's Health and Human Rights. Current active programs include community based maternal and infant health delivery and human resource development; advanced midwifery training; national maternal and child health strategic planning; and development of service and research capacity, in the countries of Zambia and Liberia. Additionally, the Division is embarking on action based research on sex trafficking of girls and women on several continents. The Division offers a fellowship in Global Health Leadership as well as co-hosts (with the MGH department of Pediatrics) the world's first Pediatric Global Health fellowship. The Division is home to several extraordinarily accomplished fellows and advisors.

Dr. Burke's many extraordinary experiences include 7 years in the U.S. Army with several overseas deployments and serving as the doctor for the FBI Hostage Rescue Team at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho. He was director of the emergency department in the U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center during the Bosnian crisis and helped care for 28,000 refugees in Guantanamo Bay in 1995. Dr. Burke successfully started three companies (clinical applied trials and land development) and, in the mid-1990s, ran an NGO that developed medical education systems in Eastern Europe. Currently, Dr. Burke is the medical director for two companies that provide expeditions via private jets for international travel.

Prior to joining the MGH, Dr. Burke was Associate Clinical Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and a faculty member for the hospital's Division of International Health and Humanitarian Programs. He also was Director of Development for the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr Burke has published clinical articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, Academic Emergency Medicine, 911 News, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Critical Decisions in Emergency Medicine, and other peer reviewed journals. He is an author of Topics in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and has also recently co-authored articles on organ trafficking. Dr. Burke serves on several boards, including Americans for UNFPA, the Bianca Jagger Foundation for Human Rights, and he has close ties to numerous national and international leaders.


My Life As a Doctor
The Choices We Make