Critical Care Track

Dear Prospective Residents and Fellows,

Danielle Desjardins 200

Thank-you for taking a moment to learn about the Anesthesiology Critical Care program at Oregon Health and Science University! Let me give you a brief introduction to our program – we are happy to field specific questions by email, during your interview, or when you visit.

More Than One Path

At OHSU there are two paths to train as an Anesthesiology Critical Care physician. The traditional track is a one-year fellowship after completion of an anesthesiology residency. The alternative is a five-year combined residency – fellowship track offered through the Oregon Scholars Program (OSP).

The Oregon Scholars Program

OHSU’s OSP was the first ACGME – approved program in the nation to offer an alternative and integrated approach to training in critical care and anesthesiology. Trainees in the OSP have a similar experience as traditional anesthesia residents through CA-2 year. The biggest difference for OSP trainees is the last 24-months of the program (CA- 3 & CA- 4 years) when they split their time between fellowship rotations and anesthesiology residency rotations.

Beginning CA-1 year, OSP residents start preparing for fellowship with weekly lectures and monthly conferences and journal clubs. These didactics lay the foundation for practicing critical care early in clinical practice. An unstated benefit of these sessions are the relationships built with critical care faculty and OSP trainees at different stages of the program. 

By integrating fellowship training throughout residency there is a natural progression of responsibility as tenure grows year-to-year. By the time trainees adopt the fellow role, they know the hospital system, have built rapport with other ICU providers, and gained the trust of their faculty. They are, in effect, ready to hit the ground running, able to focus on building clinical skills and knowledge.  

Critical Care at OHSU

We are a level 1 trauma center that services Oregon, Southwest Washington, Northern California, and Alaska. Additionally, OHSU has a robust Extracorporeal Life Support program that has been a vital resource for this area of the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, our heart failure program prepares patients for advanced therapies such as outpatient inotropic support, ventricular assist device implantation, or heart transplant.

What To Expect

Fellows predominantly rotate through the Cardiovascular and the Neurosciences ICUs which are led by anesthesiologist intensivists. There are additional rotations in the Trauma-Surgical ICU and Medical ICU so trainees experience the full breadth of critical care training. Elective rotations offer an opportunity to hone other skills. Some examples of elective rotations: Transthoracic Echo, Electrophysiology, Radiology, Extracorporeal Life Support, Blood Bank, and Palliative Care.

As a fellow, you will learn to run the ICU, balance the needs of many critically-ill patients, and delegate resources and responsibilities. OHSU’s critical care faculty come from backgrounds in anesthesia, cardiology, medicine, pulmonology, emergency medicine, trauma surgery, neurology, and neurosurgery. This full complement of intensivists each have a distinct perspective on how best to care for our critically ill population. They are there to support you and help you develop the clinical skills and judgement necessary to be an excellent intensivist.


This city has become my home over the past four years. Like most cities, it has been difficult to contend with a pandemic, but I find Portland is beginning to come back to life after a careful reemergence. This summer has seen the return of parades, beer fests, indoor dining, theater, and music shows. You can hike in the Columbia River Gorge during the day and then see Rent that evening! It’s truly a delight to revel in the wonders of this Pacific Northwest city.

We look forward to meeting you. Please feel free to reach out with any questions regarding our program.  

Danielle Desjardins, MD, PhD
Critical Care Chief Resident 2022-2023
Oregon Scholars Program