Timeline: 40 Years of Neurocritical Care at Johns Hopkins

The Johns Hopkins NCCU was established to meet the needs of several departments and required cooperation between neurosurgery, neurology, anesthesiology and critical care medicine, and nursing. For forty years, Johns Hopkins Medicine has been one of the pioneers leading the study, development and clinical application of emergency medicine principles to brain injuries and other neurocritical conditions. This timeline highlights the major milestones and key people in this journey.

  1. 1982 NCCU opens at The Johns Hopkins Hospital

    Dr. Hanley and Judith Lower at the opening of NCCU

    In 1982 the NCCU is established. Dr. Daniel Hanley serves as the founding director and Judith “Ski” Lower is the NCCU nurse. It begins as a “temporary” 4-bed, 20 ft x 24 ft ICU on Halsted 6. Dr. Hanley and anesthesiologist Dr. Cecil Borel alternate 24/7 on-call coverage every 2-weeks.

    ribbon cutting ceremony for nccu
  2. 1986 Neurocritical Care Fellowship is created

    NCCU fellowship training program members

    In 1986 with NIH grants and foundational support, Dr. Daniel Hanley develops the Neurocritical Care Fellowship Training program.

  3. 1990 NCCU faculty and research expand

    NCCU faculty group photo

    In 1990 the NCCU faculty grows to 6 members and Dr. Hanley initiates a clinical research group to perform investigator-initiated research and join NIH- and pharma-sponsored clinical trials.

  4. 1994 NCCU grows to 14 beds

    NCCU nurse with patient

    In 1994, the NCCU expands to a 14-bed unit, including a new brain rescue unit, allowing clinical neurosciences to recruit special interventionists.

    Newspapers covering the event:

    Brain Diseases Target of Expanded Neurocritical Care Unit (pdf)

    Faculty Offers Unique Combination Of Specialists in Brain Disease (pdf)

  5. 2002 Second NCCU opens at Johns Hopkins Bayview

    NCCU 2004 Johns Hopkins Bayview staff

    The NCCU at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center opens in 2002. 

  6. 2012 The JHH NCCU gets an upgrade

    new unit in the nccu

    In 2012, the NCCU moves to the Sheikh Zayed Tower. The new unit has 24 private rooms and provides complete intensive care management to more than 1,700 admissions per year.


    NCCU Dr. Miller retirement
  7. 2021 Center of Excellence designation

    magazine highlighting the nccu as a PMCE

    In 2021, the NCCU is designated as a Johns Hopkins Precision Medicine Center of Excellence.

  8. 2022 NCCU Celebrates 40 Years

    Current and past physicians and nursing leaders of The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Neurosciences Critical Care Unit recall how this specialized unit was established to care for the neuro critically ill patient. 

    Read more about the NCCU history.