Critical Care Medicine Society Confers High Honor on 7 Pitt Faculty

Issue Date: 
January 9, 2012

Four current and three former University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine faculty are among 20 world-renowned intensivists who are the first to be selected to receive the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s highest honorific, Master in Critical Care Medicine, at its annual congress,

Feb. 4-8, in Houston.

Pitt established the nation’s first Department of Critical Care Medicine in 2002, building on a long history of achievement in the field, noted Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at Pitt.

“The legacy of Peter Safar, who is being awarded this prestigious honorific posthumously, lives on in the exceptional physician-researchers who make up this inaugural class of inductees,” Levine said. “Their contributions to medicine have saved countless lives, and they and those they mentor continue to break new ground in understanding and treating the most life-threatening conditions, including sepsis, brain injury, and organ dysfunction, as well as gaining insight into the long-term outcomes of critical illness.”

Current Pitt faculty who will receive the Master of Critical Care Medicine title are: Derek C. Angus, professor and Mitchell P. Fink Endowed Chair in the Department of Critical Care Medicine; Patrick M. Kochanek, Department of Critical Care Medicine professor and vice chair and director of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research; Michael R. Pinsky, professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the critical care medicine department; and Ann Thompson, professor and vice chair for faculty development in the critical care medicine department and associate dean for faculty affairs in the School of Medicine.

Mitchell Fink, the founding chair of the Department of Critical Care Medicine, and Professor Emeritus Ake Grenvik also will be honored.

Safar was a Pitt anesthesiologist and medical visionary who had developed a method of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He became known worldwide as the “Father of CPR.” Safar also was instrumental in the 1967 creation of Pittsburgh’s first ambulance service, the Hill District-based Freedom House Ambulance Service. Prior to that, Pittsburghers who needed emergency medical care used to be transported to hospitals in the backs of police wagons. The Freedom House Ambulance Service’s members made history as the first ambulatory unit in the country trained in advanced emergency medical care and  saving lives.

According to the critical care medicine society, the honorific recognizes members who have been Fellows of Critical Care Medicine for at least five years and have achieved national and international professional prominence owing to personal character, leadership, eminence in clinical practice, and outstanding contributions to research and education in critical care medicine—or members who have years of exemplary service to the Society of Critical Care Medicine, the American College of Critical Care Medicine, and the field of critical care medicine in its broadest sense.