in the Right Place
Examine the pattern of Joseph E. Parrillo's
accomplished medical career - more than 30 years excelling
in research, administration, education, writing and clinical
care -and you'll find a common denominator that brings him
back to his roots in medicine: very sick patients.
E. Parrillo, MD, head of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease
and Critical Care Medicine at Cooper University Hospital,
and professor of medicine, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical
His early career was spent with the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), where he created the Department
of Critical Care Medicine and received the NIH's highest civilian
honor for this achievement, the National Institutes of Health
Board certified in internal medicine, allergy
and immunology, cardiovascular disease and critical care medicine,
Parrillo's primary interests have been cardiac function in
sepsis; cardiovascular performance in shock; pathogenesis
and treatment of severe dilated cardiomyopathy or myocarditis;
and the critically ill cardiovascular patient. Though he has
taken what he calls "a somewhat unusual pathway" in his medical
career, his work with the treatment of shock brings all of
his interests together. "One of the most rewarding aspects
of a researcher and a clinician is being able to develop a
treatment from the basic science or laboratory level through
to the clinical arena. Research is really the key to advancement
Parrillo has authored or co-authored more
than 800 manuscripts, chapters, reviews, editorials, books
and abstracts. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Critical Care Medicine, the premier journal devoted to the discipline of critical care. Being a writer and an educator
are "rewarding," but he remains true to his calling: "I like
to be involved with taking care of patients. I went into medicine
to be a doctor and what I enjoy most is being a clinician,"
At Cooper University Hospital in Camden, Parrillo
continues his focus on the care of cardiovascular and critical
care patients. His mission is to develop programs that provide
South Jersey with a world class academic medical center.
A native of Paterson, Parrillo arrived at
Cooper and RWJMS in November 2002 from Rush-Presbyterian-
St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. Since then, he's doubled
Cooper's patient volume, added cardiology fellowship programs,
and recruited academic faculty.
In addition, he's expanded research initiatives
putting "a great deal of emphasis on innovative, creative
technology." For example, the computerized intensive care
protocol at Cooper relies on touch-screen laptops and is one
of only eight pilot sites in the United States and Europe
to have such technology.
Major efforts are also underway at the Cooper
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory exploring the use of angioplasty
in combination with clot-busting medication, and brachytherapy,
a procedure using low-dose, targeted radiation to prevent
re-narrowing of blood vessels after a stent has been inserted.
A professor at RWJMS, Parrillo says that while
"the discipline of research was interesting intellectually,"
he would always want to stay close to taking care of seriously
ill patients. For the three million people who live in south
Jersey, this is very good news indeed.