Division Chief's Message

Rodney Folz, MD, PhD

The Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Division at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center has a long history of clinical excellence and research leadership. We remain dedicated to providing state-of-the-art patient care, performing cutting-edge research, being thought leaders in clinical care, and developing the next generation of leader's through our educational programs. Our goal is to remain one of the top divisions, excelling in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine from patient care to education and research. To accomplish this we have combined outstanding clinicians and leading researchers into an active clinical service and investigative group at UH Cleveland Medical Center and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

An outstanding group of faculty, appointed to the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, cares for a full spectrum of patients with pulmonary disorders, leading clinical activities centered around our core services of pulmonary medicine, critical care and sleep medicine. Within these core areas, subspecialty centers of clinical excellence include lung cancer, interstitial fibrosis, lung transplantation, pulmonary vascular disease, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, interventional bronchoscopy, sleep, emphysema and pulmonary rehabilitation, and critical care. Through these programs we serve as the tertiary and quaternary care site for our hospital system and the Northeast Ohio region. These programs are led by nationally and internationally renowned faculty who are authorities in their areas. Through these programmatic centers of excellence and expert faculty, patients are offered the latest in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Our medical intensive care unit has over 1,600 admissions a year and continues to grow. It is seen as a national leader in critical care, recognized with an American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Beacon Award six years in a row, the only ICU in the nation to achieve such recognition. Hundreds of bronchoscopic procedures are performed annually using the latest technology, including electromagnetic navigation and bronchoscopic ultrasound. Numerous sleep studies are performed and read by an internationally known faculty pioneering new approaches to sleep medicine. Our cystic fibrosis center has one of the largest adult populations in the country that we care for in collaboration with the Pediatric Pulmonary Division. Our lung cancer program is a leader in diagnostics and therapeutics through its multidisciplinary program at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center that brings together pulmonologists, medical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, radiation oncologists, chest radiologists, nuclear radiologists and pathologists.

The division's academic mission includes efforts in research and education. Research is key to continuing to move our field forward. The division supports a broad-based research enterprise from clinical to translational to basic with a vigorous faculty research core representing epidemiology, physiology, neuroscience, cell and molecular biology. All faculty and fellows are involved in some aspect of research to advance our knowledge and help in patient care. We have active research programs in lung cancer, lung injury and repair, inflammation, control of ventilation, genetics of ventilation, epidemiology of pulmonary disorders, tuberculosis, and lung cellular and innate immunity. A clinical trials unit within the division supports our efforts with regulatory document preparation, submission, tracking and oversight, data collection and reporting, and data coordinating. Divisional faculty have served on National Institutes of Health (NIH) Study Sections, American Lung Association grant review committees, foundation grant review committees, numerous editorial boards, and national and international meetings related to clinical care and clinical and basic science investigation. The division enjoys extensive support from the NIH with numerous individual research grants, a cluster grant, and a training grant that supports graduate students as well as PhD and MD postdoctoral fellows. All together the division has over 8 RO1s or the equivalent from NIH or the VA reach program, four mentored career development awards, and numerous foundation and industrial awards. We are an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) network site as well as a site for the upcoming Long-Term Oxygen Therapy Trial.

Education of medical students, residents, fellows and faculty is a primary goal of the division, with the aim of developing the next generation of leaders in the pulmonary and critical care community. The clinical facilities of the hospital system, together with more than 7,000 square feet of research space with a great intellectual environment, provide an ideal setting to obtain training in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung disease and the basic mechanisms of lung physiology and biology. The division has fellowship training programs in pulmonary and critical care as well as sleep. The Pulmonary and Critical Care training program is a three-year program leading to board eligibility in pulmonary and critical care. This very competitive program is under the direction of Steven Strausbaugh, MD. The fellowship accepts fellows for the three-year program from outstanding residency programs such as University of Pennsylvania, University of Indiana, Saint Louis University, Loyola University and, of course, Case Western Reserve University. The fellowship program includes rotations at UH Cleveland Medical Center as well as the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Trainees have gone on to academic and clinical practice careers.

Our Sleep Medicine Fellowship program is a one-year clinical training program leading to Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) board eligibility in sleep medicine under the direction of Kingman Strohl, MD, an internationally known expert in the field. This fellowship accepts up to four fellows a year, and has core rotations in four of the largest hospitals and sleep laboratories in the Cleveland area: UH Cleveland Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, and MetroHealth Medical Center.

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