Alum Dr. Hannah Wunsch is Hyman Critical Care Lecturer

December 15, 2022
Smiling woman with glasses poses in front of a bookcase

Hannah Wunsch, MD, MSc was guest lecturer at the Fourth Annual Allen I. Hyman Lecture in Critical Care. Her presentation, "Polio and Critical Care: An Origin Story," revealed details about the 1952 polio epidemic in Copenhagen, and the daring of the men and women who saved lives and set the direction for contemporary critical care medicine.

Dr. Wunsch is an intensivist in the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Sunnybrook Hospital and Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine and the Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is the Associate Director of Critical Care Research at the University of Toronto and holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Critical Care Organization and Outcomes. She is the author of The Autumn Ghost: How the Battle Against a Polio Epidemic Revolutionized Modern Medical Care (Greystone Books, available May 2023).

One of Dr. Wunsch's former mentors, Robert Sladen, MBChB, FCCM, Allen Hyman Professor Emeritus of Critical Care Anesthesiology, opened the lecture with gratitude for the generosity of Dr. Allen I. Hyman, who attended the lecture remotely from his home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Allen I. Hyman revolutionized care for premature infants by creating the first neonatal intensive care unit at Columbia University Medical Center. Between 1985 and 1993, he served as Acting Chair and then Vice Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology. During his tenure, Dr. Hyman was awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship to apply his medical expertise and health-care leadership at the federal level. He was named Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Officer at Presbyterian Hospital in 1993 and became Senior Physician and Special Advisor to the CEO in 1999, serving until his retirement in 2003. He is a generous benefactor to the department and CUIMC, with endowments for two lectures annually, the Allen I. Hyman Lecture in Critical Care and the Allen I. Hyman Lecture in the History of Anesthesiology.