Critical Care

The division’s critical care programs include international leaders in all phases of critical care research and practice. Our goal is to understand the fundamental biological mechanisms of critical illness, identify key drivers of critical illness and its sequelae at the population level, develop innovative therapies to prevent or ameliorate this diseases, prove the effectiveness of those therapies, and insure that that evidence-based practices are effectively implemented at the local, regional, and national levels. We do so in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary culture that emphasizes the close interdependence of clinical excellence in our direct patient care with research excellence in a spectrum of NIH-, VA-, foundation-, and industry-funded research.

Particularly active translational initiatives in the ICU include investigating the innate immune response in acute lung injury and severe sepsis, defining the pathogenic and prognositic significance of the metabolome in critically ill patients, and understanding the relationship between the human microbiome and critical illness. Our faculty are active members in the multi-million dollar UM project of the NIH-sponsored multicenter Enteric Research Investigational Network. We actively translate this basic science into Phase II trials of investigational therapies, such as a multi-center trial of GM-CSF administration in patients with acute lung injury. We are also active participants in several Phase III international critical care trials, including treatment of CMV for patients with ARDS; treatment of delirium in the ICU; and the impact of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation in ARDS. Health services researchers within the Division are investigating long-term outcomes from severe sepsis, and studying the basic social science of high-value ICU care. The Division has nationally recognized leaders in quality improvement who have established rigorous local and statewide quality improvement collaboratives. Post-doctoral fellows and clinical fellows play an integral role in each of these multidisciplinary research efforts.

This work is made possible by our close integration with the scientific excellence of the University of Michigan. Our faculty are active members of research communities in Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology, Surgery, Emergency Medicine, and Pharmacology, as well as Health Policy and Innovation, Social Research, and Health Outcomes and Policy. Divisional faculty members are integral components of the Max Harry Weil Institute for Critical Care Research & Innovation. The close physical proximity of our ICUs and the research space within the University has greatly facilitated the performance of high quality collaborative science. 

Our division takes great pride in its educational leadership within the Department and the training of both post-doctoral and clinical fellows, with the critical care program serving as a centerpiece of that effort. Members of the critical care group are frequently among the best educators recognized by internal medicine residents at U-M, winning the Department teaching award for each of the last three years. Our overarching goal is to train leaders of academic medicine who will continue this teaching tradition. Fellows are closely integrated into all aspects of this program, beginning with intensive clinical training in the ICU. That training emphasizes not just clinical pearls, but the underlying biology, epidemiology, and social science driving current and future practice.