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Children's National Honors Long Career of Peter R. Holbrook, MD

Washington, DC — Peter R. Holbrook, MD, was honored earlier this week by colleagues and many of the families for whom he cared throughout his career in recognition of 37 years of leadership at Children’s National Medical Center. Dr. Holbrook is leaving the position of Chief Medical Officer at Children's National after a long tenure that included significant contributions to the development and recognition of intensive care as an essential subspecialty in pediatrics.

He began his employment at Children’s National in 1975 as the Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. From there on, Dr. Holbrook helped build the intensive and critical care teams and the trauma team (with Martin Eichelberger, MD) and was named Chairman of the Department of Critical Care Medicine in 1986. In 1995, he accepted the appointment as Chief Medical Officer and served until 2012. He served as interim CEO during a search that followed the retirement of the previous CEO in 2011.

In recognizing his contribution to the field, Dr. Holbrook’s colleagues and friends endowed an annual lectureship in his honor: The Peter R. Holbrook Endowed Lectureship in Critical Care Medicine. The annual lecture series will highlight leaders in the field focused on best clinical practices and groundbreaking research. He also was honored with a Friend of Children award, which recognizes accomplishments and dedication to the care of all children everywhere.

Furthermore, he was inducted as an honorary member of the Children’s National Medical Staff and as Professor Emeritus at George Washington University School of Medicine. His nursing colleagues recognized his leadership and partnership with a gift and a tribute in verse from a now-retired nurse with whom he practiced in the intensive care unit 37 years ago.

“I sincerely thank those of my colleagues and friends who helped me define intensive care and advance quality programs.” said Dr. Holbrook. “I am honored by your recognition and your friendship.” Dr. Holbrook has played an integral role at the national level in shaping pediatric critical care medicine. He championed fellowship training programs in pediatric critical care for pediatricians and served as the first Chairperson of the American Board of Pediatrics Subspecialty Committee on Critical Care Medicine. He also was named as a subspecialty representative to the American Board of Pediatrics Board of Directors and to the Executive Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics. Additionally, he was an organizer of the Pediatric Section of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. After holding several positions with the Society, he became the President in 1988.

“Dr. Holbrook has served Children’s National for decades, leading the development of critical care medicine here at Children’s National as well as leading our organized medical staff,” said Kurt D. Newman, MD, President and CEO, Children’s National. “He has shaped the field nationally and internationally, and especially here in the Washington, DC region. Children and families locally and around the world have benefited from his leadership and commitment to caring for kids.” 

Dr. Holbrook was educated at Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. He served as a pediatric resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and a fellow in critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. After two years in the United States Air Force, Dr. Holbrook joined the faculty of the George Washington School of Medicine and rose to the rank of Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, and Pediatrics. He participated in training more than 40 Fellows in Pediatric Critical Care, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in the field. He also co-developed the nation's first pediatric Emergency Medicine Training program with Drs. Daniel Ochsenschlager and Michael Altieri.

Dr. Holbrook’s academic pursuits involve the cultivation of scholarship in critical care medicine and the administrative and ethical issues in the care of critically ill children. He is editor of the Textbook on Pediatric Critical Care and is co-author of four editions of the Textbook of Critical Care Medicine. He has been author and co-author of numerous scientific publications and book chapters. During his long career, he also has served as a visiting professor at several US and overseas academic medical centers.

Contact: Paula Darte or Emily Hartman, Public Relations — 202-476-4500.

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