Critical Care Medicine

Division of the Department of Medicine at McMaster

Our faculty has an international reputation for excellence in research and education while providing high-quality care to critically ill patients. We are dedicated to supporting a broad range of academic programs through collaboration and partnerships with national and international critical care organizations. As a diverse group of clinicians, we care for patients at the McMaster teaching hospitals in Hamilton, Niagara and Waterloo regions.

Research & Education

The McMaster Critical Care Medicine Residency Program is a Royal College accredited that is highly sought after by trainees. There are 12 national & international fellows in the program currently with Dr. John Centofanti as Program Director. Fellows undertake rigorous training in a competency-based model, including simulation education and bedside ultrasonography. The program offers a unique model of training that prepares trainees for clinical medicine as well as developing their academic direction. A Competence Committee led by Drs. Jill Rudkowski & Simon Oczkowski, make decisions on progression in training. Our popular Journal Club (Drs. Erick Duan & Simon Oczkowski) reviews hot topics and attracts a large audience each month. In order to foster scholarship, Drs. Bram Rochwerg and Waleed Alhazzani co-chair a research mentorship program for our critical care fellows. Their research is showcased annually at the McMaster/Western Fellows’ Research Day. In addition to the fellows, you can find residents and medical students in all of our units. Rotations in critical care have grown in popularity in recent years with numerous trainees from across the country coming to our centre.

There is tremendous breadth and depth to the research at McMaster. Members of our division are active in the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group, dedicated to designing and conducting large clinical trials in critical care. Dr. Deborah Cook is the PI on several projects, including PROSPECT (Probiotics to prevent Severe Pneumonia & Endotracheal Colonization Trial), REVISE (Re-Evaluating the Inhibition of Stress Erosions: Gastrointestinal Bleeding Prophylaxis in ICU) and 3 Wishes (aims to dignify a person’s death and celebrate their life). Dr. Bram Rochwerg is leading FISSH (Fluids in Septic Shock trial). DONATE is a research program studying organ donation practices in Canada led by Dr. Maureen Meade. Dr. Michelle Kho is leading a research program on critical care rehabilitation (CYCLE). Dr. Alison Fox-Robichaud is the principal investigator of the Canadian Sepsis Research Network. Dr. Waleed Alhazzani leads the GUIDE group providing methodological support for clinical practise guideline development and systematic reviews for several international critical care societies. Dr. Emilie Belley-Côté is studying the outcomes of patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Dr. Joanna Dionne is a Clinical Scholar with an interest in the prevalence of diarrhea in the ICU (DICE-ICU trial).

Major Accomplishments

Several members of our division have been recognized for their accomplishments. Dr. Deborah Cook is a Distinguished University Professor at McMaster and holds the Canada Research Chair of Research Transfer in Critical Care. This Officer of the Order of Canada received the 2017 Killam Fellowship Award, 2018 CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Impact and in 2020 she was appointed to the expert advisory panel to Canada’s Chief Science Advisor. She and Dr. Maureen Meade co-chair a special interest group called ACCADEMY (Academy of Critical Care: Development, Evaluation, and Methodology) for critical care research mentorship. Dr. Roman Jaeschke has been a pioneer in clinical practice development and he is the Founding Editor of the McMaster Textbook of Internal Medicine. Over the years, McMaster Critical Care has been integral to the Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. Drs. Michelle Kho and Bram Rochwerg currently sit on the CCCTG Board of Directors. Dr. Alison Fox-Robichaud is the President of the Canadian Sepsis Foundation and is the Co-Chair of the 2021 World Congress of Intensive & Critical Care. Dr. Jennifer Tsang with Dr. Erick Duan have created the Canadian Community ICU Research Network (CCIRNet) which brings intensivists from community hospitals together to promote participation in clinical research studies. Locally, Dr. Simon Oczkowski has provided leadership as the President of the Hamilton Academy of Medicine and Dr. Peter Kraus as the HNHB Regional LHIN Leader.

Future Directions

Our division is indebted to Dr. Andreas Freitag for his tireless leadership of the division for over 20 years. Over that time, there has been profound growth in the support for scholarship and the development of programs that conduct research that influences practise locally, nationally and internationally. Following a decade of service as the residency program director, Dr. Tim Karachi has taken on the role of Division Director.

The division remains committed to providing high-quality patient and family-centred care while increasing our commitment to excellence in research with a focus on both clinical trials and guideline development. We are equally committed to the mentorship of the next generation of physicians and scientists in order to remain leaders in critical care.

Dr. Tim Karachi, Division Director
Dr. Tim Karachi, Division Director

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