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National Leader in Neurocritical Care Michael J. Bell Named Chief of Children's National Division of Critical Care

WASHINGTON – Michael J. Bell, M.D., a nationally known expert in the field of pediatric neurocritical care has joined Children’s National Health System as chief of the Division of Critical Care Medicine.

The Division of Critical Care Medicine at Children’s National is recognized across the U.S. for the care of critically ill infants and children, with clinical outcomes and safety measures among the best in the country across the cardiac, neuro and pediatric critical care units. As chief, Dr. Bell oversees both the pediatric intensive care unit and the region’s only pediatric-dedicated neuro intensive care unit.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Bell back to Children’s National,” says Robin Steinhorn, M.D., senior vice president of the Center for Hospital-Based Specialties at Children’s National. “His leadership in the field of neurocritical care, and his experience leading teams in the complex management of all types of critical injuries in children makes him the ideal person to lead our world-class critical care teams."

Dr. Bell joins Children’s from Children’s Hospital of UPMC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he served as director of Pediatric Neurocritical Care and the Pediatric Neurotrauma Center, and established the pediatric neurocritical care program. Prior to joining the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Bell served on the faculty at Children’s National and simultaneously conducted research on the impact of inflammation on the developing brain at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), within the laboratory of the chief of the NINDS Stroke Branch.

“Returning to Children’s National, and Washington, D.C., presents a tremendous opportunity to work across clinical divisions and research centers, and explore how we can continue to improve what we know about and how we care for critically ill children,” Dr. Bell says. “Children’s National has a long history of integrating research and clinical care to achieve better outcomes for children locally and nationally. I’m looking forward to the opportunities made possible by these types of collaborations."

Dr. Bell is a prominent figure in both critical care and neurocritical care research. He has authored or reviewed more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and is a founding member of the Pediatric Neurocritical Care Research Group, an international consortia of 40 institutions dedicated to advancing clinical research for children with critical neurological illnesses. His current research interests include: barriers to implementation of traumatic brain injury guidelines, the effect of hypothermia on various brain injuries and applications for neurological markers in a clinical setting.

He also leads the largest study to date evaluating the impact of interventions for infants and children with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and analyzing findings to improve clinical practice across the world. The Approaches and Decisions for Acute Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (ADAPT) Trial, funded by NINDS, has enrolled 1,000 children through 50 clinical sites across eight countries and compiled an unmatched database, which will be used to develop new guidelines for clinical care and research on TBIs.

During his previous tenure at Children’s National, Dr. Bell played a crucial role in building one of the first clinical pediatric neurocritical care consult services in the country, which established common protocols between Children’s Divisions of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology and Neurosurgery aimed at improving clinical care of children with brain injuries.

Dr. Bell is board certified in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. He completed his medical degree at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, his residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a fellowship in Pediatric Critical Care at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“Dr. Bell’s unique blend of clinical expertise and research leadership in both neuroscience and critical care enhances Children’s reputation as a premier regional and national center for the effective management of critically ill children,” says David Wessel, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer of Children’s National Health System.

Contact: Amy Goodwin | Children’s National Health System | 202-476-4500 | [email protected]

About Children’s National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is ranked in the top 20 in every specialty evaluated by U.S. News & World Report; one of only four children’s hospitals in the nation to earn this distinction. Designated a Leapfrog Group Top Hospital and a two-time recipient of Magnet® status, this pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is one of the nation’s top NIH-funded pediatric institutions. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. For more information, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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