Faculty and Staff Features for May 2018

Curtis N. Sessler, M.D., Orhan Muren Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine

Curtis N. Sessler, M.D.
Curtis N. Sessler, M.D.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has awarded Sessler with the 2018 AACN Pioneering Spirit Award.

Sessler serves as director of VCU Health’s Center for Adult Critical Care and medical director of the Medical Respiratory Intensive Care Unit at VCU Medical Center. He has practiced, taught and conducted research at VCU for more than 30 years.

Sessler has enjoyed a career in critical care medicine focusing on patient care, teaching, clinical research and advancing collaborative care of critically ill patients. He has a long-term collaboration with VCU School of Nursing colleagues, studying clinical issues including intensive care unit sedation, prevention of nosocomial infection, mechanical ventilation and procedural competency. Under his leadership, the interprofessional group of nurses and physicians created and validated the Richmond Agitation-Sedation Scale, which is used worldwide to help improve the management of pain, sedation and delirium in critically ill patients.

“Dr. Sessler has worked side by side with critical care nurses throughout his career, leading to multiple advances in critical care,” said AACN Board President Christine S. Schulman. “He has been instrumental in building partnerships between critical care societies and addressing numerous issues important to our patients, our colleagues and our professions.”


Michael Cimis, director, Environmental Health and Safety

Michael Cimis.
Michael Cimis.

The Safety Training Consortium has selected Cimis as a member of its board of directors. The consortium is a membership organization founded by research universities for the purpose of developing safety training. The group creates its own library of peer-reviewedsafety training and members can customize the courses according to their needs.

“As a board member, I will have input in development priorities, training content and industry and academic partnerships,” Cimis said. “This summer VCU will be hosting a number of [consortium] courses. … The courses will be integrated into our research safety program that includes safety assessments, research protocol review through our oversight committees, and waste management and collection.

“The safety training consortium courses are part of our larger department and division goals around improving laboratory safety culture. I am excited to be at a place that values research and research safety in this way,” Cimis said. “My position on the STC board will support continued growth and excellence in teaching and sponsored research at VCU.”  

Prior to joining VCU last September, Cimis was senior associate director of environmental health and safety at Dartmouth College. He has a master’s from Dartmouth and bachelor’s from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

As director of Environmental Health and Safety at VCU, “I work with a team of professionals and subject-matter experts to improve safety in our labs and offices and protect our environment,” Cimis said. “An important tool in our work is training for researchers, students and staff on procedures, risk assessment and hazard control.”  

The Safety Training Consortium board of directors is elected by members every three years and works with the University of California Center for Laboratory Safety, which manages the consortium as part of its mission to improve safety in research laboratories. In addition to VCU, other members of the consortium include the 23 campuses of California State University, Northwestern, Princeton, Central Michigan, Emory, New Mexico State, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Pittsburgh, Wellesley College and Washington University in St Louis.