Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center

1700 N Wheeling St,
Aurora, CO 80045

Denver VAH


Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section

The Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section of the Medicine Service at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center (RMR VAMC) is led by Dr. Edward “Jack” Dempsey MD, Section Chief. Section faculty members and fellows practice pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine in a new state-of-the-art-facility that is one of the most advanced among VA Health Care Systems.

VAH social gathering

The RMR VAMC Pulmonary and Critical Care Section provides clinical services for Veterans living in the Front Range and Southern Colorado, as well as portions of Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, and New Mexico. These services include evaluation and management of general pulmonary conditions, lung nodules (through a dedicated nodule clinic) and advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy, ICU (medical and surgical, including post-cardiothoracic surgery), sleep disturbance and disordered breathing, and neuromuscular/spinal cord injury. Somewhat unique to our Veteran population, we provide care for many patients with lung cancer, interstitial lung disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and occupational- and deployment-related respiratory diseases.

Education and training on electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy.

In addition to our clinical services, our group has demonstrated considerable success in conducting clinical and translational research in several pulmonary and critical care fields. Our research portfolio is highlighted by our Lung Cancer Program led by Dr. York Miller, MD, Dr. Robert Keith, MD and Dr. Melissa New, MD. The clinical and research topics include lung cancer screening, pre-malignant airway biology, and the role of biomarkers and chemoprevention in early detection and interception of lung cancer - with investigations in both the translational and clinical phases. Other areas of research excellence within our group include Dr. Edward Chan’s and Dr. Nick Walter’s clinical and translational research with mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Dr. Krefft’s leadership in establishing the RMR VAMC as one of four national VA Post Deployment Cardiopulmonary Evaluation Network (PDCEN) sites. The RMR VAMC is also home to one of eighteen national Health Service Research & Development Centers of Innovation (COIN) with qualitative and quantitative research cores to promote Veteran-centered care, improve the Veteran care experience, and advance care value. Research in our Section has been supported by the VA Research & Development Programs, NIH, V Foundation, Department of Defense, American Thoracic Society, and other funding agencies.

We provide a unique educational experience for our Fellows. Fellows rotate on a pulmonary consultation and procedural service, a combined ICU service (medical ICU and surgical ICU including post-operative cardiothoracic surgery care), and see patients in our weekly outpatient pulmonary clinic. In addition to traditional clinical pulmonary and critical care services, we are a training site for the National Jewish Health and University of Colorado Sleep Medicine fellowship with local leadership by Dr. Carol Welsh. We provide hands on procedural training for advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy (including radial and linear endobronchial ultrasound-guided bronchoscopy [EBUS] and electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy) for the evaluation of lung nodules and thoracic abnormalities. In addition, we offer training in small-bore chest tube placement and management, pleural biopsy, and ICU point-of-care ultrasound. Our Fellows also receive formal training on bedside teaching and evaluation of their progress, with the goal of developing our fellows into future leaders in medical education. Our weekly chest clinic provides opportunities to care for chronic pulmonary conditions that are common among Veterans. The post-clinic conference facilitates discussions of interesting and challenging cases that enhance education and patient care.

The following is a summary listing of our clinical and research activities: 

Clinical Services

  • Advanced Diagnostic Bronchoscopy
  • Critical Care Ultrasound
  • General Pulmonary Clinic and Consultation
  • ICU (Medical, Surgical, Cardiothoracic)
  • Lung Nodule and Lung Cancer Management 
  • Lung Cancer Screening
  • Neuromuscular Disease & Spinal Cord Injury
  • Pleural Space Procedures (chest tube, pleural biopsy)
  • Pulmonary Vascular Disease
  • Sleep Medicine


  • Lung Cancer Biology
  • Lung Cancer Chemoprevention
  • Mycobacterial Lung Disease
  • Deployment-Related Respiratory Diseases
  • COPD
  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Family & Caregiver Support
  • Health Services Research
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation

Research VA



RMR VAMC Pulmonary and Critical Care Section Faculty

dr dempsey

Dr Dempsey - Section Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care

Dr Welsh

Dr. Welsh - Former Section Chief & Site Director for Sleep Fellowship

Dr Beck

Dr. Beck – Chief of Medical Service at RMR VAMC and President of ATS 2019-2020

Dr Keith

Dr Keith - Associate Chief of Staff - Research

VA hospital lobby

Pulmonary Sciences (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Research Complex II

12700 East 19th Avenue


Aurora, CO 80045


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