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Robert Skertich, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Public Administration

Director, Nontraditional Undergraduate Programs 

Robert Skertick, assistant professor of public administration, with a Haitian boy during medical mission following the Jan. 12 earthquake. | Photo courtesy of Robert Skertich
Contact information

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Vocational Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Master of Public Policy Management, University of Pittsburgh
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Public Administration and Policy, University of Pittsburgh

Courses Taught

  • Urban Politics
  • Non-Profit Organization
  • Public Administration
  • Principles of Management
  • Public Budgeting
  • Operational Methods for Public Management
  • Policy and Decision Analysis
  • Theories of Public Organization
  • Special Employee Relations in Public Agencies
  • Introduction to Administrative Law
  • Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • Introduction to Information Technology

Background

Associate Professor Robert Skertich, Ph.D., has an extensive background in public and nonprofit administration, serving at the municipal, county and national levels, with a primary focus on public safety and emergency management. Previously working for the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, he currently serves as a deputy commander with the Disaster Medical Assistance Team (PA1-DMAT) based in Pittsburgh and part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Disaster Medical System, which coordinates federal medical response during disasters. He led a group of 25 physicians, nurses and paramedics from the Pittsburgh area to staff a temporary hospital in Petionville, just outside of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has responded to a variety of disasters around the Pittsburgh area and across the United States. 

He is a firefighter, driver/operator and training instructor for the Elfinwild Fire Company in Shaler Township and previously served as the Chief of the Hampton Township Fire Department in Allison Park, Pa. Skertich has taught extensively at the Allegheny County and Pennsylvania State Fire Academies.

His current research focus is on leadership and decision making in disasters. He was previously affiliated with the Center for Disaster Management at the University of Pittsburgh, researching socio-technical situational awareness and decision support in disaster management. Skertich also studies civil defense and Cold War history in the Pittsburgh area.

Professional certifications and memberships

  • Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, Adjunct and Local Level Suppression Instructor
  • National Professional Qualification Board Firefighter II,  Fire Instructor III and Public Fire and Life Safety Educator II Certifications
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health Paramedic Certification
  • International Fire Service Accreditation Congress Officer II Certification
  • Member, Occupational Advisory Committee, Emergency Response Technology, Beattie Technical School
  • Member, Fire Service Administration Degree Program Advisory Board, Community College of Allegheny County
  • Member, American Society for Public Administration
  • Member, National Fire Academy Alumni Association
  • Member, Keystone Chapter Fire Service Instructors

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Presented on "Professional Communications" to West Penn Hospital employees, Nov. 20, 2014.
  • Co-author of article "A Bad Time for Disaster: Economic Stress and Disaster Resilience," published in Administration and Society, July 2012.
  • Taught 16-hour Advanced Incident Command course at the Integrated Medical, Public Health, Preparedness and Response Training Summit in Nashville, Tenn., May 2012.
  • Co-presented on the "History of Pittsburgh's Cold War Air Defense," Northland Public Library and Allegheny County Police and Fire Academy in North Park, Pittsburgh, Pa., March 2012.
  • Co-presented "A Bad Time for Disaster: Economic Stress and Disaster Resilience," Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C., Sept. 2010.
  • Presented on the "Haitian Earthquake Response," EMS Update Conference, Emergency Medical Services Institute, Seven Springs, Pa., March 2011.

Research Interests

  • Decision support in disaster management

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Member of the Year, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Disaster Medical System, 2010
  • Instructor Emeritus, Pennsylvania State Fire Academy

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