The mission of the Department of Critical Care Medicine is to provide exemplary care for critically ill patients, conduct cutting edge research related to life-threatening acute medical problems, and educate tomorrow’s leaders in the field of critical care medicine. We believe that with the strong support of the University, the School of Medicine, UPMC and our fellow physicians, the Department will continue to fulfill the goals of our mission and contribute to the dramatic growth and prestige of our supporting institutions.
In the late sixties, Peter Safar and Ake Grenvik of Pittsburgh, and other pioneers including Max Harry Weil, William Shoemaker, John Kinney, Herbert Shubin, Burton Waisbren began changing how care was delivered to critically ill and injured patients. They believed that a multidisciplinary and team approach that focused solely on the patient would improve survival rates and quality of life. After founding the Society of Critical Care Medicine, they worked to further define and refine what we know today as critical care medicine. Even now, every physician trained, idea researched and service provided through the Department of Critical Care Medicine is grounded in the core beliefs and values of these visionary physicians and researchers.
The Department of Critical Care Medicine (CCM) at the University of Pittsburgh officially came into being on December 5, 2001. Dr. Derek Angus was appointed as the Critical Care Medicine Chair in Spring 2008. Dr. Angus holds the Mitchell Fink Chair of Critical Care Medicine, which was established to recognize the founding chairman of the Department.
Many exciting changes and expansion has occurred in the last decade. The Adult Division broadened its clinical services to include UPMC Mercy intensive care units. The Pediatric Division was part of the relocation of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh from Oakland to a new facility in Lawrenceville. The Hospitalist Division started providing its services at UPMC Mercy and UPMC McKeesport and transitioned to an all-hours program at UPMC Passavant.
Since its beginning, CCM has steadily increased the size of its faculty. Today, there are over 100 CCM faculty members within the Adult and Pediatric divisions of the Department. On average, seven new faculty members are recruited per year to support all the elements of a thriving academic and clinical department. CCM's Hospitalist division was discontinued in 2017.
The Department plays a pivotal role in the safe and efficient care of patients in the UPMC Oakland hospitals (Presbyterian and Montefiore), the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC Mercy Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and many other facilities. Our faculty members actively contribute to various management committees for the System.
The educational experience provided to medical students, anesthesiology and surgical residents, and critical care medicine fellows is unsurpassed by any other institution in the country. The Multidisciplinary Critical Care Medicine Training Program (MCCTP), which includes fellowship programs in both Adult and Pediatric Divisions, attract highly qualified candidates every year.
Even in this time of reduced NIH funding, CCM's research activities continue to grow. Established researchers are maintaining their funding levels in an increasingly competitive market. CCM's Junior faculty members are establishing independent careers in their fields of interest with strong mentoring by their more senior colleagues.
Now, as always, CCM carries on the goals of Drs. Safar, Grenvik and colleagues: to identify and deliver the best available care for the most critically ill patients.