Acute Care Surgery

At the Division of Acute Care Surgery at Michigan Medicine, we care for the most critically ill and injured patients, backed by the resources of a Level 1 Trauma Center and Burn Verified Center, as well as several specialty ICUs. Through our research, we seek to improve health care outcomes and prevent injuries, improving the quality of life for patients here and everywhere. Through our comprehensive fellowship training program, we pass on this knowledge to the next leaders in surgical critical care.

Acute Care Surgery at Michigan provides care for patients of serious trauma and burn injuries, and delivers surgical services for emergencies and for critical care medicine. Our clinical specialties include:

  • Trauma Surgery: Trauma surgeons treat more than 1,200 people a year as part of a multidisciplinary team of care providers — an approach that’s been shown to improve outcomes for patients recovering from a serious injury. Few institutions have achieved the Level 1 Trauma Center verification for both adults and children, a fact that demonstrates our longstanding commitment to providing the best and most responsive resources for the treatment of trauma.
  • Burn Surgery: Michigan Medicine is home to the state’s only Burn Verified Center, making our team of surgeons and scientists recognized leaders in not just burn injury treatment, but also burn prevention, education, and research. We treat more than 200 patients a year, serving as a referral center that can offer treatments not found elsewhere, including fractional CO2 laser treatment of burn scars. Expanding our services regionally, we also coordinate the health care response for burn mass casualties through our Burn Center, improving the entire state’s readiness for emergency response.
  • Surgical Critical Care: Surgical Critical Care surgeons care for patients in a surgical and a trauma burn ICU, serving as a tertiary and quaternary care center for patients around the region. Our areas of strength include acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), complex ventilator management, hospital-acquired infections, and treatment of major trauma and burns, including wound and skin disorders such as necrotizing soft tissue infection. Our ICUs are award-winning, recognized for their excellence in family-centered critical care.
  • Emergency Surgery: Through this service, we provide timely surgical assessment and operative management for general surgery patients with acute conditions. By concentrating the care of a patient in the hands of a single team, we can improve health outcomes through better coordination and better management of each case.


The Division of Acute Care Surgery provides instruction in critical care for trainees across levels and specialties, including residents and fellows in surgery, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, and pulmonary medicine. We believe strongly in the value of creating acute care surgeons who can navigate the multiple disciplines of trauma, burn, surgical critical care, and emergency surgery, becoming expert in the entire spectrum of critical care management.

Our division provides extensive trauma education opportunities, including an ATLS® student course, an ATLS® student refresher course, and an ATLS® instructor course. We offer a Surgical Critical Care (SCC) Fellowship, a 1-year ACGME-certified training program designed to prepare graduates for the certifying exam in surgical critical care. This program, recognized as one of the country’s best, offers special strengths in ICU management and ECMO training, a technology developed at U-M. The Section of Pediatric Surgery at U-M also offers a Pediatric Surgery Critical Care Fellowship Program.


Our research activities span clinical, translational, and quality improvement efforts. Current projects include:

  • NIH and Department of Defense-funded trauma research in the Hasan Alam Lab that seeks to develop new treatments for severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury. This research program is one of the most well-funded trauma research programs in the country and has produced 250 manuscripts and 8 patents.
  • A network of 13 institutions developing randomized controlled clinical trials to prevent or treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), through the Clinical Trials Network for the Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury (PETAL).
  • A collaborative quality initiative, the Michigan Trauma Quality Improvement Program (MTQIP), that seeks to create a statewide quality improvement infrastructure for trauma centers to improve health care quality and reduce cost.
  • Novel research to assess patient frailty using CT scans through the Morphomic Analysis Group, an effort that’s part of the Department of Surgery’s Michigan Surgical and Health Optimization Program (MSHOP), winner of a $6.4 million federal health care innovation award supporting development of a program to improve patient health before surgery in order to speed healing.