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Coach - Dr. Richard Kunkle, M.D.

Coach and Chairperson for the Academic Program

Dr. Richard Kunkle, M.D. is a senior coach at the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence and the Graduate Director of Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government at Saint Vincent College. Dr. Kunkle joined the college in 2004 as a consultant and began full time work with the Center and the college in 2007.


Dr. Kunkle earned his AB in Biology at Gettysburg College, his MD at the University of Pittsburgh and completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at University of Kentucky. He served 4 years in the US Air Force as the Chief of Aerospace Medicine for the Southern Command at Howard Air Force Base, Isthmian Canal Zone, Panama. While in the Air Force, Dr. Kunkle received the National Defense Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, Command Flight Surgeon of the year and 4 “Winged S” awards for life saving rescue flights. After the Air Force, Dr. Kunkle directed the Emergency Department of a 200 bed community hospital. During that time, he was recognized as a Fellow of The American College of Emergency Medicine, where he is now a life fellow. The last 4 years before leaving the hospital, he also served as Associate Director of the hospital and the Associate Medical Director.


During his medical career, Dr. Kunkle cofounded the Special Medical Response Team, a team of physicians and paramedics especially trained in austere medical care, confined spaces rescue and underground mine rescue. The team has been involved in missions throughout the United States and internationally including managing the medical response to the Quecreek Mine Disaster where 9 miners were rescued from an underground flood. Dr. Kunkle coauthored the medical curriculum for the US Urban Search and Rescue Teams which now respond to urban collapse and entrapment situations. Dr. Kunkle received two commendations from the US State Department for his service to the country as the US State Department physician to Romania and Albania during their respective revolutions. In 1994 he received an Eisenhower Fellowship to assist Romania in developing medical mine rescue capabilities.


Dr. Kunkle is among the first recipients of the Saint Vincent College Certificate in Operational Excellence. He is a graduate of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative’s Perfecting Patient Care University and brings a wealth of experience in Operational Excellence to the Center.


Dr. Kunkle is a life-long resident of Western Pennsylvania. He was born in Delmont, attended high school at Greensburg-Salem and resides in the Ligonier area with his wife Ann. He is blessed with two children and 6 grandchildren. He enjoys his farm, blacksmithing, timber framing and wine-making.



In the News

Dr. Richard Kunkle on CNN comparing Quecreek mine rescue to Chile mine rescue.

Forbes Magazine Online interviews Dr. Richard Kunkle on Chile mine rescue concerns.


Past Clients:

Adelphoi, Inc
Mine Safety Appliance
Latrobe Specialty Steel
Overly Door/Tiger Door
West Penn Allegheny Health System-West Penn Campus
West Penn Allegheny Health System-Forbes Regional Campus

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