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SCCM Member Provides Remote Disaster Response to Italy

Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) member and disaster management expert Marie R. Baldisseri, MD, MPH, FCCM, was prepared to travel to Italy to help implement COVID-19 response plans. But since increased travel restrictions have postponed her trip indefinitely, she is instead providing consultation virtually. She shares her knowledge about the situation in Italy and talks about her transition from being an educator in the classroom to someone who lends her on-the-ground expertise to those dealing with critical disasters around the world.

Dr. Baldisseri’s primary role in Italy is to assist in organizing surge capacity and resource allocation. “They have increased their capacity by 20%, but what happens if they need to increase their capacity by 100% or 200%? Those are the protocols that we are trying to share with them,” she explained.

Follow Dr. Baldisseri on Twitter (@MarieBaldisseri) for her continued insights. SCCM will be providing updates on her inspiring efforts.

With a career focused on global health and disaster medicine, Dr. Baldisseri has served for many years as an educator for SCCM’s SCCM’s Fundamentals programs. Her evolving role to provide on-the-ground response was solidified in 2010 when, on behalf of SCCM, she led a team of critical care professionals to Haiti after its devastating earthquake. “Haiti and the Dominican Republic asked the Society . . . to help them fix their infrastructure . . . and to help them respond very, very quickly.” Since then, her involvement in the Fundamentals program has grown. In 2012 she served as editor of SCCM’s Preparing Your ICU for Disaster Response.

Several relevant Fundamental modules and the Preparing Your ICU for Disaster Response are now available with complimentary access on the SCCM Emergency Response page.

"I can ensure that the Society has a long history of involvement in disaster medicine,” said Dr. Baldisseri. “When someone needs your help, you respond.” She recognizes that healthcare workers are putting themselves in dangerous and risky situations when they are part of the response. “I can tell you my family was not delighted that I may go, but they are supportive because this is what I trained to do.

SCCM recognizes and commends the commitment of critical care professionals worldwide in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope that by sharing our members’ stories we will inspire others and highlight the vital role of the multiprofessional team. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact

Marie R. Baldisseri, MD, MPH, FCCM
Marie R. Baldisseri, MD, MPH, FCCM, is an intensivist and professor of critical care medicine and neurocritical care at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. She is an instructor and consultant for SCCM’s Fundamentals programs.
Elizabeth H. Mack, MD, MS, FCCM
Elizabeth H. Mack, MD, MS, FCCM, is a professor and division chief of pediatric critical care at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. She serves as a host for SCCM’s iCritical Care Podcasts  and is helping to share the stories of clinicians responding to COVID-19.

Posted: 3/30/2020 | 0 comments

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