Medical Student Education


Critical care medicine is a diverse specialty attracting physicians from a wide variety of primary training pathways including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Neurology, and Neurosurgery. Pitt medical students have three avenues for developing greater understanding and appreciation of critical care medicine:

The four-week Critical Care Medicine elective teaches fourth-year Pitt medical students the cognitive and technical skills needed to undertake the initial evaluation and management of critically ill patients . Students consistently rate the elective as one of the most valuable courses in their Pitt Medical School curriculum.

Students are assigned to one of four UPMC intensive care units in Oakland — Surgical/Trauma, Neurotrauma, Neurovascular, or Transplantation — to the Surgical ICU at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center or to the Pediatric ICU at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. The elective includes bedside teaching rounds and direct patient care supervised by faculty members and fellows from the Department of Critical Care Medicine. In addition, students participate in a series of simulation sessions to gain hands-on skills in:

  • Airway management
  • Pulmonary resuscitation
  • Advanced cardiac life support
  • Management of sepsis, anaphylaxis, seizure and chest pain
  • Neurological emergencies

Faculty Director

Christopher Schott , MD, MS
For questions or more information about the Medical Student elective, schottck [at] (subject: Inquiry%20regarding%20Medical%20Student%20CCM%20Elective) (contact Dr. Schott).

First- and second-year Pitt medical students may join the Critical Care Medicine Student Interest Group, which provides novel educational opportunities and early exposure to critical care.

Participants in the interest group have the opportunity to:

  • Shadow faculty in the Department of Critical Care Medicine
  • Participate in workshops
  • Conduct research projects with a faculty mentor

The Interest Group holds two events in fall: a Career Practice Panel lunchtime discussion and an informal, get-to-know faculty social hour at the University Club.

Faculty Advisor

Christopher Brackney, DO
For questions or more information about shadowing opportunities or the Medical Student Interest Group, contact brackneycr2 [at] (Dr. Brackney).

Student Coordinator

Chinweoke "Chinwe" Osigwe
cco17 [at]

The Adult and Pediatric divisions of the Department of Critical Care Medicine accept Pitt medical students on an individual basis to conduct their Scholarly and Summer Research Projects. Our faculty are at the forefront of international critical care research. Major areas of focus include sepsis, traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest, acute kidney injury, cardiovascular physiology, clinical epidemiology, health services research, ethics and decision making, and complexity modeling and systems biology. Students will be connected with a research mentor based upon mutual interest and on available research opportunities.

Interested students should browse our research faculty profiles and contact individual faculty members directly for more information. You’ll also find research projects and our faculty researchers/mentors listed in the School of Medicine’s Navigator database.

For general questions concerning summer research projects or scholarly research projects in the Department of Critical Care Medicine, please e-mail Bayihx [at] (Hülya Bayιr, MD), with your CV and potential areas of research interest.