Neurocritical Care

The University of Virginia Nerancy Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) is a modern, state-of-the-art intensive care unit that serves patients with neurological and spinal injuries. The NNICU treats patients from all over Virginia, as well as patients with special needs throughout the country and abroad.

Our 12-bed ICU cares for patients in a closed-cooperative model with physicians from Neurology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Surgery and Otolaryngology.  24-hour in-house physician or NP coverage is highlighted by attending physician in-house coverage of up to 17 hours a day, which distinguishes this service from others in Virginia.  In addition, the NNICU has the only UCNS-certified Neurocritical Care Fellowship training program in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Along with a 12-bed neurological intermediate care unit (NIMU), dedicated neuroscience nursing floors, acute stroke unit and a state-of-the-art epilepsy monitoring unit, the ICU is a critical link in the continuum of hospital care for neurology patients.  The inpatient continuum is part of a larger initiative, the Neuroscience Center of Excellence, which links inpatient and outpatient services for seamless integration of care from initial injury through recovery.



The Nerancy Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at the University of Virginia University Hospital is named after its two benefactors, John T. Nerancy, MD, a neurosurgeon and psychiatrist who emigrated to the United States from Greece, and his wife, Louise Nerancy, RN, a nurse. Dr. and Mrs. Nerancy practiced medicine in Chicago and Washington, D.C., before retiring in 1950 and moving to Charlottesville. Dr. Nerancy passed away in 1986; Mrs. Nerancy passed away in 1992.

The three previous medical directors of the Nerancy Neurointensive Care Unit are an extremely distinguished group of physicians who have made important contributions to the field of neurocritical care. Dr. E. Clark Haley, the original director, was the leader of the team that first tested tissue plasminogen activator (tPa) for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Dr. Thomas Bleck is widely regarded as one of the four founding fathers of the field of Neurocritical Care. He defined the encephalopathy associated with sepsis, served as the first President of the Neurocritical Care Society, and was the first neuro-specialist to sit on the Council of the Society of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Daryl Gress directed the Neurointensive care units at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF). He was the first director of both stroke and neurocritical care at UCSF and the director position is now an endowed chair that carries his name.

Clinical Services

  • Primary neurological injuries such as subarachnoid hemorrhage, stroke, intracranial hemorrhages, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, status epilepticus, brain tumors, encephalitis and meningitis, myasthenia gravis crisis, and hypoxic ischemic injuries.
  • Medical and neurological consequences of acute neurological injuries or complex post-operative neurosurgical patients such as management of cardiopulmonary instability and intracranial hypertension.
  • Patients who need special neurological monitoring or treatment such as therapeutic hypothermia, continuous EEG monitoring, advanced intracranial monitoring, or specialized ventilator management for neuromuscular disease and acute spinal injury patients.

Our Team

The Neurocritical Care team includes board certified neuro-intensivists physicians and other healthcare providers who specialize in treating critically ill patients with neurological and spinal injuries. In our closed-cooperative system, all critically ill patients admitted to the NNICU are cared for with by the ICU team in coordination with the admitting team physicians.

Physician Providers:
  • Dena Martin MSN, SCRN, RN, Neuroscience NeuroICU and Neurointermediate Care Unit Nursing Manager
  • Kathleen A. Blesdoe, Pharm.D, BCPS, Pharmacy 
  • Sandra (Dea) Mahanes, DNP, RN, CCNS, FNCS NNICU Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • William Lombardi, DNP, AG-ACNP, RN, CCRN
  • Laura DuBose, MSN, ACNPC-AG, RN, CCRN, CNRN– Nurse Practitioner
  • Kim Dube, DNP, AGACNP-BC, RN, CCRN– Nurse Practitioner
  • Steven Wiseman, MSN, AGACNP-BC, RN, TCRN, CCRN, CEN – Nurse Practitioner
  • Alyssa Benning, PA-C – Physician Assistant
  • Michelle Gibb, MSN, AGACNP-BC, RN – Nurse Practitioner
  • Brittany Cochran, PA-C – Physician Assistant

Additional Information

Patients: Please call the NNICU front desk at 434-924-2164.
Healthcare Providers: Please call Mary Jo Gilbert at 434-382-1747 or email her at
Fellowship Applicants: Please call KarenMarie Smith at 434-924-5548 or email her at