Created in 1969, the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit was founded by two Mass General neurosurgeons, Robert Ojemann, MD and Nicholas Zervas, MD, with the close collaboration of Mass General neurologist J. Phillip Kistler, MD. Through the initial efforts of these pioneers, the Mass General NeuroICU has grown from four beds to the current state-of-the-art 22-bed unit in the Lunder building.
There have been many milestones along the way. In 1978, a neurologist, Allan Ropper, MD and an anesthesiologist, Sean Kennedy, MD became the first co-directors of the Mass General NeuroICU, and ushered in what was then a first-of-its-kind critical care collaboration. During this time period, the NeuroICU created the first neuroscience nursing training rotation, quickly developing what has become one of the world’s most talented pool of NeuroICU nursing staff. Mary Guanci, RN, who retired in 2019, began her career with Drs. Ropper and Kennedy, becoming the Unit’s first Clinical Nurse Specialist.
In 1993, under the direction of Walter Koroshetz, MD, the NeuroICU expanded into an 18-bed unit in the Blake building and became known as a hub for the treatment of acute stroke and the growth of acute stroke therapies. Under the leadership of Lee Schwamm, MD, the Mass General Telestroke Network was created, which continues to provide tele-consultation for neurologic emergencies in more than 20 hospitals in three states.
The training of neurointensivists and vascular neurologists has always been a core feature of the Mass General NeuroICU. From its origins the fellowship training programs have trained many leaders in both fields. From 2002 to 2011, under the direction of Jonathan Rosand, MD, the fellowship training program expanded dramatically, evolving into two fellowship programs in Neurocritical Care and Vascular Neurology, which together represent the largest training program of its kind in the world.
In 2010, Dr. Rosand was named chief of the newly established Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology and medical director of the NeuroICU. In 2011, the NeuroICU moved into a new 22-bed, state-of-the-art facility in the Lunder Building. In addition to expanding our space for patients and families, the Lunder 6 NeuroICU contains numerous technological advances, which enable us to continue to serve our patients with the latest generation of cutting-edge monitoring and treatments. We also prioritize holistic and innovative approaches to supporting patients and families to cope with the stress that inevitably accompanies a NeuroICU admission. In 2013, we welcomed physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists to the team and in 2014, the NeuroICU recruited its first nurse practitioners.
W. Taylor Kimberly, MD, PhD succeeded Dr. Rosand as Chief of Neurocritical Care in 2019 and appointed Eric Rosenthal, MD as the medical director. The extensive multi-disciplinary team in the NeuroICU now brings together physicians, nurses, therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, social workers, case managers and operations associates from a vast range of backgrounds to serve our patients and families with the very best in team-based care.