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Incorporated as a 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) adheres to the strictest nonprofit governance practices. Learn about the council nomination policy, understand its member structure and bylaws, view the strategic plan and chart the history of critical care and the Society.

Nominations for the Council are now open. All nominations must be submitted via the online form by May 15, 2020.

All SCCM voting members are able to respond to the call for leadership and are encouraged to do so. Council terms are for three years and consist of both at-large and designated seats.

​Designated seats have been created so that Council will always have input from the major specialties. Designated seats have been assigned to Anesthesiology, Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Internal Medicine, Nursing, Pediatrics, Neuroscience, Emergency Medicine, and Surgery sections. An additional designated seat, to represent the other specialties, was established as the collective seat.

Election for designated seats is staggered, allowing for continuing the sustained experience and memory of Council deliberations as well as promoting fresh perspectives in the governance of the Society.

The Nominations Policy suggests that each section should nominate at least two and (usually) no more than three willing candidates to fill a designated seat. Nominations for the designated seats will also be entertained from the general membership. Nominations for the at-large seats can come from the sections or general membership.

Please let us know who among your colleagues is ready and willing to serve critical care at the Society leadership level. Self-nominations are welcomed. If you have any questions, please contact Diana Hughes, CAE.

SCCM’s members are diverse group of highly trained professionals who provide care in specialized units and work toward the best outcome possible for seriously ill patients. For more information on SCCM membership, visit the Member Center.
Physicians who are board certified in a medical specialty, such as surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, or anesthesiology, and who receive special education, training and subspecialty board certification specifically in critical care. 
Registered nurses who receive highly specialized education and are often certified in critical care nursing. 

Physicians or doctors of pharmacy who use their extensive knowledge to carefully monitor a patient's medications.
Respiratory Therapists 
Professionals who work with the critical care team to monitor and adjust ventilators and other respiratory technology as needed.
Other Professionals 
SCCM members may also include physical/occupational therapists, technicians, social workers, dieticians and members of the clergy.

​In recent years, nonprofit organizations have become an increasing focus of those interested in nonprofit accountability and transparency, including policy makers, the media, and the public.  Legislative reforms have been proposed ,and nonprofit associations are calling on their members to review and strengthen nonprofit governance practices.  SCCM has instituted many policies and procedures to insure effective and transparent governance.  It is important for our elected leaders and volunteers to be familiar with these. 

SCCM Bylaws​

The Society adheres to four considerations for decisions on whether current projects will continue and new projects will be initiated:

  • Will the project promote the mission and vision of SCCM?
  • Is the project unique?
  • Is SCCM competent to accomplish the project?
  • What is the probability of success?


The mission of the Society of Critical Care Medicine is to secure the highest quality care for all critically ill and injured patients.

Envisioned Future

The Society of Critical Care Medicine envisions a world in which all critically ill and injured persons receive care from a present integrated team of dedicated trained intensivists and critical care specialists.

Multi-professional teams use knowledge, technology and compassion to provide timely, effective, safe, efficient, and equitable patient-centered care.

Organization Guiding Principles

  • Promote a healing, safe, and effective critical care environment for patients, their families, and caregivers wherever critical care occurs across the health care continuum.
  • Promote the implementation of the integrated team of dedicated experts in the ICU for delivery of the highest quality, safest, most effective, and most cost-efficient critical care.
  • Advocate to patients, the public, and policy makers that critical care is a compassionate, patient-centered discipline.
  • Advocate for career pathways in both research and clinical practice that will attract and retain a quality team of personnel dedicated to improving the care of the critically ill and injured.
  • Provide the finest education for healthcare professionals, the public, and policy makers regarding optimal delivery of critical care.
  • Promote and support quality research into all aspects of critical illness and injury.
  • Promote measurement of outcomes and processes to inform and improve patient care.
  • Promote member participation in quality improvement activities.
  • Foster development of critical care practitioners and leaders.

Member Guiding Principles

  • Achieve the best possible outcome for each patient.
  • Serve patients, their families, and society.
  • Promote care delivery by integrated teams of dedicated experts.
  • Demonstrate leadership.
  • Behave ethically and honestly with compassion.
  • Commit to being a critical care professional.
In 1970, 29 physicians with a major interest in the care of the critically ill met in Los Angeles to form an organization committed to meeting the needs of such patients. Today, the fruit of their labor -- the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation -- continues to grow and support all members of the critical care community.

The Chicago-based Society is the leading organization dedicated to ensuring excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. From heart attack and stroke, to severe respiratory insufficiency, overwhelming infection, burns and gunshot wounds, the SCCM recognizes the unique needs of the critically ill patient of any age -- infant to adult -- and strives to secure the highest quality care for all patients facing life-threatening conditions.

Critical care evolved from a historical recognition that patients with acute, life-threatening illness or injury could be better treated if they were grouped into specific areas of the hospital. 
1850s – Florence Nightingale wrote about the advantages of establishing a separate area of the hospital for patients recovering from surgery. 

1923 – Intensive care was initiated in the United States when Dr. W.E. Dandy opened a three-bed unit for postoperative neurosurgical patients at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. 
1927 – The first hospital center for premature infant care was established at the Sarah Morris Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. 

World War II – Shock wards were established to resuscitate and care for soldiers injured in battle or undergoing surgery. 
Post-World War II – The nursing shortage that followed the war forced the clustering of postoperative patients in recovery rooms to ensure attentive care. The obvious benefits in improved patient care resulted in the spread of recovery rooms to nearly every hospital by 1960. 

1947-1948 – The polio epidemic resulted in breakthrough treatment for patients dying of respiratory paralysis. In Denmark, manual ventilation was accomplished, and patients with respiratory paralysis and/or acute circulatory failure were given intensive nursing care. 

1950s – The development of mechanical ventilation led to the organization of respiratory intensive care units (ICUs) to facilitate effective and efficient care delivery. General ICUs for very sick patients, including postoperative patients, were developed for similar reasons. 

1958 – Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, in Baltimore City Hospitals, became the first multidisciplinary ICU in the United States. It was covered by an in-house physician 24 hours daily, 7 days a week and led the way for optimal, constant medical and nursing care to critically ill patients. 
Late 1960s – Most US hospitals had at least one ICU. 

1970 –  Physicians with a major interest in the care of the critically ill and injured met in Los Angeles, California, to discuss the formation of an organization committed to meeting the needs of critical care patients: the Society of Critical Care Medicine. 

1986 – The American Board of Medical Specialties approved a certification of special competence in critical care for the four primary boards: anesthesiology, internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery. 

1990-present – Critical care significantly reduces in-hospital time as well as costs incurred by patients with diseases such as cerebrovascular insufficiency and respiratory failure. 

1997 – More than 5,000 ICUs were operational across the United States.