employee resources staff nicu

Critical Care Medicine Fellowship

Two-year program with a clinical focus

About the Program

About the Program

Founded in 1990, the Critical Care Medicine Fellowship delivers advanced clinical training in a diverse, multicultural patient environment. The fellowship includes rotations at four leading healthcare systems in the Twin Cities. We accept three fellows per year.

Our two-year program is ideal for those planning to practice critical care medicine as their primary specialty. The first-year curriculum is entirely clinical. Our second year includes four required clinical rotations, two months of elective clinical rotations, and six months of clinical research.

We welcome candidates from ACGME-accredited residencies in internal medicine and emergency medicine. In addition, individuals who have successfully completed a fellowship in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine, nephrology, infectious diseases, or cardiology, may consider our program for an abbreviated, one-year fellowship to obtain additional clinical experience.


About Our Curriculum

Our program is designed to ensure our graduates possess sound clinical judgment and a high level of knowledge in critical care medicine, in preparation for the American Board of Medical Subspecialties Critical Care Medicine examination.

The Critical Care Medicine Fellowship is based at Hennepin Healthcare, with clinical rotations at three additional hospital sites in the Twin Cities: Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Methodist Hospital, and University of Minnesota Fairview Medical Center.

In each location, experienced specialists serve as teachers and consultants, and are always available for support and consultation. Fellows have ample opportunity to become proficient in performing all the procedures required of an intensivist and hone their own leadership and teaching skills by supervising residents and medical students. We pride ourselves on a collaborative, team-driven approach to patient care.


Didactic Opportunities

Hennepin Healthcare offers numerous didactic opportunities. Fellows attend weekly Critical Care conferences, and present at these conferences at least 8-9 times per year. Presentations feature core topics in critical care medicine, as well as cases and journal club.

Fellows are encouraged to attend Department of Medicine Core Curriculum lectures and Grand Rounds and to develop a project for presentation at a national or regional scientific meeting or for publication.

Didactic Opportunities

Weekly Critical Care Fellows Conference

  • Thursdays, weekly, 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Includes research conference
  • Held at HCMC

Other Didactics

Chest/Infectious Diseases Conference

  • First and third Wednesdays of each month

Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellows Conference

  • Wednesdays, weekly, 7:30-9:15 a.m.
  • Rotating hospital sites

Department of Medicine Grand Rounds

  • Thursdays

Interactive Procedural Simulation Sessions

Multidisciplinary ECMO Training Sessions


ICU Leaders with a Commitment to Teaching

About Our Faculty

A shared commitment to critical care medicine unites our faculty—and our fellows. Our experienced staff takes a hands-on approach to teaching.

Program leadership

  • Dr. Heidi Erickson, Program Director, Critical Care Medicine Fellowship, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Robert Shapiro, Associate Program Director, Critical Care Medicine Fellowship, Co-Director Medical ICU, Hennepin Healthcare; Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Mark Sprenkle, Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Director of Critical Care Research, Hennepin Healthcare; Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. James Leatherman, Medical Director, MICU, Hennepin Healthcare; Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Robert Kempainen, Pulmonary, and Critical Care, Medical Director, Pulmonary Function Lab, Hennepin Healthcare; Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Matt Prekker, Emergency Medicine and Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, Medical Director, ECMO Program, Hennepin Healthcare; Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota
Rotation Schedule

Public, Private, and University Hospital Rotations

First Year Fellow Rotations

Anesthesia (1 required)
Clinical Research (1 required)
Elective (1 required)
MICU (3 required)
MICU-CCU (2 required)
MICU-SICU (3 required)
MICU / SICU (1 required)

Second Year Fellow Rotations

CCU (1 required)
Clinical Research (6 required)
Elective (2 required)
MICU-CCU (2 required)
MICU-SICU (1 required)

Possible electives include anesthesia, bedside ultrasound, echocardiography, emergency room, palliative care, pulmonary consultation, and research.

About Our Rotations

ICU attending physicians at all sites closely supervise Critical Care Medicine fellows. Attending physicians are available 24 hours to consult with fellows, and on call, as needed for additional supervision. We encourage fellows to contact the attending anytime questions arise.

Fellows round daily with the ICU attending physician on every patient on ICU service, which incorporates both work and formal teaching rounds. Additional rounds occur at other times throughout the day, depending on the patient’s acuity and complexity.

There is no in-house call, however, fellows will frequently need to come into the hospital to assist the in-house medical residents. Call frequency varies by site but is approximately every third weekend and 1-2 nights per week.

At Methodist Hospital, fellows take first call for all patients, as there are no residents. Methodist Hospital call is every other weekend, with an additional 6-7 nights per month, totaling 10-12 days per month.

To ensure fellows receive adequate supervision and support, the Program Director meets formally with fellows on a semi-annual basis, and informally each week at the scheduled Core Curriculum Conference. The Program Director communicates with Site Directors monthly. Fellows’ evaluations of rotations and faculty and an internal survey also contribute to program structure.

Fellows have major responsibility for supervising and teaching internal medicine residents and medical students who rotate on ICU services, at all sites except for Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital.

First Year Fellow

Year one is an intense clinical experience in critical care medicine where fellows either directly manage or supervise residents in the management of a wide variety of critically ill patients. Fellows will acquire and improve procedural skills, such as vascular access, chest tubes, intubation, ventilator management, invasive hemodynamic monitoring, focused bedside cardiac ultrasound, and bronchoscopy.

Second Year Fellow

While fellows maintain clinical responsibilities, in year two the emphasis shifts to clinical research, teaching, and pursuing individual interests related to critical care medicine. Fellows receive six months’ protected research time to pursue topic(s) of their choice, which culminates in the development of a project for presentation at a national or regional scientific meeting or for publication. Fellows will gain experience in ICU management, quality improvement, and patient safety.

What Sets Us Apart?

Diverse clinical experience.

Rotations at four leading hospitals give fellows ample opportunity to acquire and improve procedural skills, manage critically ill patients, and develop leadership abilities. Our program includes trauma situations, advanced disease states, pre-transplant, neuro-critical care, and advanced cardiac-intensive opportunities.

Collegial, academic environment.

Our faculty are practicing physicians with a commitment to education. Fellows work daily with specialists, residents, and colleagues across disciplines—a mix that encourages constant discussion, analysis, and a scholarly approach to patient problems. As an academic system, we maintain a long tradition of cooperative teamwork that leads to great patient care.

Clinical research opportunities.

Fellows in our two-year program actively pursue a clinical research project of their choice during six months of protected research time. Each fellow develops a project for presentation at a national or regional scientific meeting or for publication.

Advanced technology.

Across our sites, fellows work with the latest technology. Fellows train for real-life procedural situations in our state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Simulation and Education Center and utilize our bedside ultrasound and cardiac echocardiography, advanced cardiovascular and respiratory monitoring capabilities, and other cutting-edge tools.

Alumni achievements.

The Critical Care Medicine Fellowship prepares physicians for sought-after opportunities in clinical practice. One hundred percent of our graduates over the past five years have successfully passed their Board exams. Most alumni today practice critical care medicine in Minnesota.

Application Requirements


Your application must include:

  • Medical school diploma
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement
  • USMLE and/or COMLEX scores
  • Curriculum vitae

Non-resident applicants are welcome to apply and must possess a J1 visa or green card; Hennepin Healthcare does not sponsor the H1B visa. Non-resident applicants must submit an ECFMG certificate and results of Steps 1 and II and Step III.


  1. Submission: Submit your application through the Electronic Resident Application System (ERAS). We do not accept applications through the mail. The Critical Care Medicine Fellowship will contact selected candidates individually; we do not participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP).
  2. Scoring: Our program does not require a minimum score. Each applicant will be scored based on these criteria:
    • Recommendation letters
    • Interview
    • USMLE or COMLEX scores
  3. Interviews: Selected applicants will be invited for interviews. We hold interviews on a rolling basis as applications are received.

About Our Facility

The Critical Care Medicine Fellowship is based within the main HCMC campus, which spans five city blocks in downtown Minneapolis and houses in-patient and ambulatory services, our Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center, the region’s highest volume Emergency Department, and numerous specialty clinics—all within a single facility.


contact photo only cheryl christenson

Cheryl Christenson

Fellowship Coordinator
[email protected]

Hennepin Healthcare
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, G5
701 Park Avenue, Minneapolis MN 55415

Graduate Resources

Training Tomorrow’s Healthcare Leaders

Residency Programs

Accredited Residency Programs

Fellowship Programs

Distinguished Fellowship Options