Curtis Sessler, MD, FCCP, FCCM
Associate Chair for Faculty Development
Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine
Department: Internal Medicine
Phone: (804) 828-9071
Curtis N. Sessler, MD, FCCP, FCCM is the Orhan Muren Distinguished Professor of Medicine and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development for the Department of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Sessler received a B.A. at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his MD from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center where he was also Chief Resident. After completing fellowship training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), he joined the VCU faculty in the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine and is now a tenured Professor of Medicine. Dr. Sessler is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Critical Care Medicine. He is the Medical Director of the VCU Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (MRICU) and is the Medical Director of Critical Care. He is Director of the Center for Adult Critical Care which links Intensivists from 5 different departments at VCU. Dr. Sessler is very enthusiastic about collaborative, multi-professional practice, and patient-focused care – particularly in fostering integrated critical care operations that combines the expertise and talents of various physician groups, as well as physician-nursing-pharmacy-therapist leadership.
Dr. Sessler has enthusiastically participated in the education of students and housestaff physicians at VCU and has received a variety of awards for teaching excellence at VCU. In 2008, Dr. Sessler and his team received the VCU School of Medicine Educational Innovation Award for developing and implementing an education and simulation program for central venous catheterization, training more than 1000 learners. In additional to lectures locally and at VCU, Dr. Sessler has delivered > 350 lectures at national and international meetings and has chaired multiple courses at national meetings. He has been named to Who’s Who and Top Physician lists and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha as a faculty member at VCU in 2001.
Dr. Sessler has been involved in clinical research and writing in a variety of critical care areas resulting in > 300 published papers, book chapters, books, abstracts, and CD-ROMs. Dr. Sessler led a group that developed and validated a sedation assessment tool for ICU – the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS), which has been translated into many languages and is used worldwide. He has been an investigator on a wide range of studies, including being a co-investigator in NIH-funded research collaborations with investigators from the School of Nursing and College of Engineering at VCU. He has been a member of the editorial boards of numerous journals, including CHEST. He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the ACCP board review textbook, Critical Care SEEK.
Dr. Sessler has held a variety of administrative and leadership positions in professional societies and other organizations. He is past President of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP/CHEST) from 2014 to 2015 and has served the ACCP in a wide variety of administrative roles. He is a Fellow of the ACCP and a Fellow of the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). He received the Distinguished Service Award from ACCP in 2007 and delivered ACCP’s Roger C. Bone Memorial Lecture in 2010 and Art Wheeler Memorial Lecture in 2016. He has served on numerous national multi-society task forces, including the Critical Care Working Group on Reimbursement, the Framing Options for Critical Care in the United States (FOCCUS) Task Force, the Task Force on Pulmonary and Critical Care Competencies for the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the Strategic Planning Task Force for Critical Care Research, as well as co-authoring guidelines on sedation and analgesia (SCCM) and liberation from mechanical ventilation (ACCP/American Thoracic Society). He currently co-leads a multi-society task force on Burnout in the ICU. Dr. Sessler was President of the Virginia Thoracic Society from 1997-99. He has served the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a member of 3 committees and was Chair of the FDA Pulmonary and Allergy Drug Advisory Committee in 1999-2000.
Dr. Sessler is very excited about the core mission of faculty development – to help all Internal Medicine faculty to achieve professional growth and development that translates into individual personal satisfaction and a healthy Department of Medicine. He is enthusiastic about building upon the exception program created and implemented by Dr. Betsy Ripley as the inaugural Associate Chair for Faculty Development, and strongly supported by Dr. John Nestler, Chairman of the Department. Key areas of focus include promoting professional growth opportunities, leadership development, enhancing mentorship programs, supporting successful promotion and tenure, and promoting wellness and mitigation of burnout. Dr. Sessler hopes to build “an army” of individuals who are interested in and support faculty development and welcomes all great questions and ideas.