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Critical Care Medicine


PICUThe Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine provides care for critically ill or injured children from birth to 18 years of age who require intensive care. The division's physicians, nurses and other clinical staff care solely for inpatients hospitalized at N.C. Children's Hospital in its 20-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and therefore do not see patients by appointment.

The division's critical care physicians care for all PICU patients in collaboration with physicians with expertise in other pediatric subspecialties, including:

  • Cardiology
  • Pulmonology
  • Neurology
  • Nephrology
  • Endocrinology
  • Hematology/oncology

 The division also works closely with the surgical specialties, including:

  • General pediatric surgery
  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Plastic surgery
  • Transplantation surgery


Our division is involved in many programs and initiatives to improve care at N.C. Children’s Hospital and beyond. Programs involving members of our division include:

  • TeamSTEPPS™: This program encourages communication, improved patient care and an enhanced teamwork environment. Four members of our faculty (Tina Schade Willis, MD, Cherissa Hanson, MD, Benny Joyner, MD and Afsaneh Pirzadeh, MD) are involved in TeamSTEPPS™ as Master Trainers, implementing the program’s principals throughout the division and in many other departments in the hospital.
  • N.C. Children’s Center for Clinical Excellence: Formed in May 2008, this center provides a sustainable quality improvement (QI) infrastructure at the Children’s Hospital. Tina Schade Willis, MD is the co-director of the center, leading many QI project with other division faculty that have resulted in a significant decrease in our rates of ventilator-associated pneumonias and central line-associated bloodstream infections.
  • Project TICKER (Teamwork to Improve Cardiac Kids' End Results): A QI initiative, this project’s goal is to implement a patient- and family‐centered safe practice infrastructure. The program incorporates teamwork training through TeamSTEPPS™ and integrated clinical pathways for pediatric congenital heart disease patients. Project TICKER was established by Tina Schade Willis, MD.
  • UNC Project-Uganda: Members of our faculty (Keith Kocis, MD, Benny Joyner, MD and Jenny Boyd, MD) have participated in the delivery of advanced medical care and education/training of physicians and other staff in Uganda and Kenya. In 2004, Dr. Kocis helped to create this specific initiative, which established Uganda’s first pediatric intensive care unit at Mulago Hospital.


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