Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Clinical Environment

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the primary site for the PCCM fellowship, is a 236 bed quaternary referral center located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is West Michigan’s only licensed free standing children’s hospital and Level 1 pediatric trauma center, providing world class care in 50 Pediatric specialties to children throughout a 37 county area. The hospital moved into a new, state-of-the-art facility in 2011 and cares for nearly 8000 inpatients and 95,000 ambulatory visits annually. The pediatric emergency department cares for nearly 50,000 patients per year.

The pediatric critical care unit is a 24-bed facility with the ability to flex-up to 36 beds during high volume periods. The PCCU cares for more than 1500 children annually, including level 1 traumas, patients undergoing solid organ and stem cell transplant, cardiothoracic surgery, general pediatric surgery, neurosurgery, and a broad range of patients with organ dysfunction or failure. The pediatric critical care division is led by Dr. Robert Fitzgerald.

The division of pediatric critical care also runs the pediatric sedation service, which is one of the largest pediatric sedation programs in the country serving nearly 6000 children per year. This service provides sedation for a multitude of procedures including but not limited to bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, endoscopies, bronchoscopies, interventional radiology procedures and MRI’s. We also perform the vast majority of vascular access services, including placement of PICC lines, central venous lines, broviacs and ports. The sedation services are headed by Dr. John Kopec and Dr. Rick Hackbarth.

The Cardiothoracic Surgical Service, led by Dr. Marcus Haw, performs more than 300 surgeries per year and continues to increase in patient volume each year. There are currently three full-time cardiothoracic surgeons. Both pre- and post-operative multidisciplinary rounds are conducted in a collaborative manner led by the Cardiothoracic Surgeons, Cardiologists, and Intensivists.

Another unique aspect of the division is the Blood Management Program, which is staffed by the faculty in the division of pediatric critical care. This service has been a leader in reducing and optimizing blood product utilization and is a national leader in research in the field.

All the modern technologies which are expected of a quaternary care institute are available in our PICU. The specialized supportive technology utilized in the PCCU include, but are not limited to, CRRT, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, HFOV, nitric oxide and plasmapheresis.  Our ECMO program is very active with both cardiac and non-cardiac domains. The pediatric intensive care physicians collaborate in medical direction for the ECMO service with the Cardiothoracic or Pediatric Surgical teams. The ECMO service is led by Dr. Brian Boville.

The fellows will have an opportunity to participate in all aspects of clinical care provided by the division.

Program Focus

The fellowship program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is a three year program and is ACGME accredited for two fellows per year.  Each academic year has a 13 block cycle (39 total blocks during fellowship).

The tentative schedule is as follows:

First year (PGY-4)

  • 6 blocks PICU & CICU
  • 1 block Anesthesia
  • 1 block bronchoscopy/echocardiography
  • 1 block Pediatric sedation
  • 4 blocks research

Second Year (PGY-5)

  • 5 blocks PICU & CICU
  • 1 block Pediatric sedation
  • 7 blocks research

Third year PGY-6

  • 4 blocks PICU & CICU
  • 8 blocks research
  • 1 block elective – Elective may also be taken in the second year in place of the third year
  • Note: Vacation and conference time has to come out of research blocks.


The faculty members in the Division of Critical Care Medicine are engaged in a wide variety of scholarly activities, including quality and safety, process improvement, education, basic science, translational and clinical research, all aiming to advance the field of medicine. Dr. Surender Rajasekaran is the medical director of Research for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Under the guidance of the Fellowship Program Director, the Scholarship Oversight Committee, and the Scholarly Activity Mentor, each fellow will design and implement a scholarly activity project.

All faculty within the Division of Pediatric Critical Care are well equipped to serve as project mentors, and all faculty participate in research education. Opportunities exist to collaborate with other investigators within Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Spectrum Health, as well as the Van Andel Research Institute and Michigan State University.

A broad range of research support services are available for investigators including hypothesis generation, biostatistics, study design and implementation, data analysis, poster, abstract, and manuscript preparation.

Fellows are encouraged to apply for one or more of the numerous intramural grant opportunities.

Ready to Apply?

All applications are accepted through ERAS. Please see the For Applicants section of your preferred program for additional details.

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