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David Wessel

David L. Wessel, MD, is Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC and the Ikaria Distinguished Professor of Critical Care Medicine. He is also Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and of Pediatrics at The George Washington University.

Dr. Wessel is internationally known for his pioneering work in caring for infants. An experienced scientist and clinical researcher with more than 200 publications, Dr. Wessel has designed and executed seminal studies in cardiac critical care and pulmonary hypertension; developed new therapies for perioperative care of the newborn; and studied factors influencing neurologic and developmental outcomes in newborns with congenital heart disease. He is a principal investigator and member of the steering committee for the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

After receiving an undergraduate degree in physics at the College of William and Mary, Dr. Wessel was educated and trained in physiology and medicine at Oxford, Yale and Harvard. He received numerous honors for academic excellence at the universities he attended and completed specialty training and board certification in anesthesiology, pediatrics, pediatric cardiology, and pediatric critical care medicine. He joined Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC in July 2007. Prior to this appointment he was Professor of Pediatrics (Anesthesia) at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Wessel’s clinical and research interest has focused on the infant with congenital anomalies before and after birth. He helped define and create the field of pediatric cardiac intensive care and has trained many of the leading practitioners in the field across the world. He was the inaugural president of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society, an international society which honored him with its 2004 award for contributions to improving children’s heart health. In 2010 he received the Outstanding Research Award from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young. In 2012 he received the prestigious Meritorious Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The award is a national career achievement award recognizing an individual who has made a significant impact in the field of pediatric cardiovascular disease.

In his current role as Executive Vice President, Dr. Wessel is the accountable executive for six Vice Presidents or Senior Vice Presidents and their 38 clinical divisions at Children’s National Hospital. After his arrival at Children’s National, Dr. Wessel established a successful collaboration for pediatric emergency room service at United Medical Center in Washington, DC and created six new alliances in newborn intensive care units in the region. He co-leads the Hospital’s Clinical Programs, Quality and Safety Program (including the US NEWS Best Hospital survey), Chairs management committee for Pediatric Specialist of Virginia and is Chief Medical officer for the Hospital and Specialty Services.

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