The Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine was created in 1968, two years after the opening of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.
The inaugural division chief Benjamin Burrows, MD, an emphysema and pulmonary physiology specialist, was recruited from the University of Chicago. Dr. Burrows was a visionary and left a legacy of pulmonary translational research, initially funded by the NIH Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) in Pulmonary Diseases. He launched the first “center of excellence” at the UA, the Arizona Respiratory Center, in 1971. Headed by Fernando Martinez, MD, the center was rebranded in 2016 as the Asthma and Airway Diseases Research Center (A2DRC), with a new website unveiled in 2019. The rebranding of the A2DRC heralds a focused effort to cure asthma.
Our current division chief, Sairam Parthasarathy, MD, arrived in 2011. Prior to that, he was affiliated with the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System’s Tucson VA Medical Center as chief of research, section chief for pulmonary and critical care medicine, and head of the sleep medicine lab. He served in similar roles in Chicago before that with the Loyola University Medical Center and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital. Today, he also serves as medical director of the Banner – University Medical Center Tucson Center for Sleep Disorders and director of the UA Health Sciences Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences, both of which he founded. With his research on sleep-disordered breathing and sleep apnea funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than two decades, Dr. Parthasarathy also serves as an expert advisory consultant on NIH's five-year strategic plan for sleep medicine.
Our division now numbers more than 30 physicians and scientists. It is home to many nationally and internationally known physician-scientists pursuing breakthroughs in translational medicine to various pulmonary diseases and conditions. These include Ken Knox, MD, known for his research in HIV-related pulmonary diseases and clinical expertise in sarcoidosis, fungal diagnostics, immunologic lung disease and bronchoalveolar lavage; our Department Chair Monica Kraft, MD; and Joe G. N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, a physician-scientist on acute respiratory distress syndrome and past senior vice president, UA Health Sciences. Furthermore, our Pulmonary Services program was named among the top 50 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Meet Our Fellows