Martha Curley Honored for Her Work in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine

Martha Curley, who holds the Ruth M. Colket Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, and is a professor of anesthesia and critical care medicine at the university’s Perelman School of Medicine, was selected to receive the 2021 Drs. Vidyasagar and Nagamani Dharmapuri Award for Excellence in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine from the Society of Critical Care Medicine. This annual award recognizes an individual for sustained exemplary and pioneering achievement in the care of critically ill and injured infants and children. Dr. Curley is the first woman and the first nurse to receive the award.

“I am excited to receive the award because it acknowledges a lifetime of work that has cleared the path to recognize the contributions that nurses make in the care of critically ill children and their families,” said Dr. Curley. “It’s also important from the perspective of situating the patient and the parent in this award because all of the work that I’ve done over the years has been based on the needs of patients and their families.”

Dr. Curley’s research has focused on nurse-implemented therapies for acute respiratory failure in critically ill pediatric patients. She is currently investigating how nurses can create environments conducive to healing in pediatric ICUs. Methods being studied include supporting parents of critically ill children, embedding a child’s normal sleep patterns and circadian rhythms into his/her hospitalized day, and modulating light and noise in the ICU to help children feel comforted.

Dr. Curley is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned a master’s degree in nursing science from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Boston College

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