Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center

Critical Care Medicine Residency Program

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey was instrumental in the formation of Houston Methodist Hospital's cardiovascular surgery department, performing the first successful coronary artery bypass in the early 1960s. In its Cardiovascular ICU, using some of the world's most sophisticated technology, Houston Methodist's intensivists are on the leading edge of diagnosis, treatment, and discovery.

This tradition of innovative treatment continues today with new techniques for mitral valve repair, endostenting of great vessels, robotics, off–pump coronary bypass, and heart-lung transplant surgery. Due to limitations on physician resident duty hours, opportunities for physician assistants have increased dramatically especially in critical care medicine. However, most employers require experience.

The postgraduate Critical Care Medicine Residency for Physician Assistants Program is a 12-month residency offered by The Methodist Hospital Physician Organization faculty in conjunction with Weill Cornell Medical College. It offers qualified candidates the opportunity to learn and improve on their critical care science, clinical, procedural and operative skills, and in the process take advantage of the job opportunities available in the Texas Medical Center and nationwide. Houston Methodist is the first in the southeast region of United States to offer such a comprehensive critical care physician assistant residency program.

Length of Program: 12 months
Class Size: 2–3
Starting Date: Adjusted based on graduation date

Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center is associated with Weill Cornell Medical College and has existing affiliations with physician assistant residency programs at other universities. At the present time, PA students from such programs can seek a one-month elective rotation in the Cardiovascular ICU.


Clinical and didactic components of the program are integrated. Residents will attend lectures in vascular and cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology and cardiac anesthesia year-round. When rotating through the ICU, more lectures will be given pertaining to care of the patient in that setting, e.g., hemodynamic monitoring, ventilator management, fluids and electrolytes, and inotropes/vasoactive drugs.

Elective one-month rotations in the ORs will teach skills such as first assistant to the surgeon and endotracheal intubation. An additional one-month rotation in the Neuro ICU (NICU) will be available. Candidates interested in research will have exposure to the ongoing research projects.

Residents will get exposure to wide range of diseases/pathology in critical care:

  • Fundamental concept in critical care including hemodynamic & ventilator management
  • Open heart and vascular surgery: principles and practice of first assisting in OR
  • Shock states, trauma, sepsis, TPN management, intracranial emergencies
  • Endovascular procedures:
    • Femoral access technique: arterial and venous lines
    • Radial/brachial arterial lines
    • Assisting in complex endovascular procedures
  • Fluid and electrolyte imbalance
  • Renal failure, renal replacement therapy, and hemodialysis catheter placement
  • Extra corporeal membrane oxygenator and ventricular assist device
  • Additional lectures available in:
    • Thoracic Journal Club
    • Vascular Journal Club
    • Weekly peripheral vascular conference
    • Weekly MDHVC lecture in cardiology

All physician assistant residents will receive Robert M. Bojar's Manual of Perioperative Care in Cardiac Surgery as a reference. The Jesse Jones Medical library is steps away from the Hospital. Residents will have online access to additional medical reference books and journals. Residents will have call duty, which will vary depending on service assignment.

View the Physician Assistant Residency Program in Critical Care Medicine brochure: eMag | PDF

Download the Postgraduate Physician Assistant Critical Care Medicine Residency Program application

For more information contact:
Dr. Kamlesh Thaker, MD, FCCP
Phone: 713–441–3621
Fax: 713–790–2082
Email: kthaker@houstonmethodist.org
Mailing address:
Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center of Houston Methodist Hospital
Department of Anesthesiology
Physician Assistant Critical Care Residency Program
6565 Fannin Street, Suite B452
Houston, Texas 77030

For more information about our residency programs, please contact us at 713-DEBAKEY (332-2539).