- Medical School - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1980-1984)
- Internship - Baylor University Medical Center (1984-1985), Anesthesiology
- Fellowship - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1986-1987), Transplant Anesthesiology
- Residency - UT Southwestern Medical Center (1985-1988), Anesthesiology
Charles Whitten, M.D.
- Margaret Milam McDermott Distinguished Chair in Anesthesiology and Pain Management
- Anesthesiology and Pain Management
- Pain Management
Charles Whitten, M.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Dr. Whitten earned his medical degree at UT Southwestern, where he also completed a residency in anesthesiology. He then received fellowship training in transplant anesthesiology and cardiovascular anesthesiology through a collaboration between UT Southwestern and Baylor University Medical Center Dallas.
He joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1988.
Prior to his current role, Dr. Whitten served as Chief of the Division of Anesthesia for Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at UT Southwestern and, later, as Director of the Division of Anesthesia at Parkland, the largest and busiest division in the department.
During his tenure, Dr. Whitten has also served as a senior research project advisor for undergraduate engineering students at Southern Methodist University, as the chief recruiting officer for UT Southwestern’s residency program, and as the Vice Chair for Educational Affairs.
On a national level, Dr. Whitten serves as an examiner for the American Board of Anesthesiology. His research interests include perioperative inflammatory responses, perioperative hemostatic alterations, and economic factors influencing academic anesthesiology.
Meet Dr. Whitten
Charles Whitten, M.D., Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management at UT Southwestern Medical Center, came to medical school by a different road than most. As an undergraduate, he trained in electrical and biomedical engineering at Southern Methodist University.
Only about 5 percent of students enter medical school with an engineering major, but among that group, many end up in surgery or anesthesiology, both areas in which good decisions must be made quickly – a challenge engineers are quite familiar with.
"My family and I all receive our medical care at UT Southwestern,” Dr. Whitten says. “I cannot think of a better endorsement I could give. I know that if complications happen, they will be dealt with professionally by people who have dealt with them before.
“Providing patient care is a lot like dealing with the black box: You’ve got symptoms coming out of the box, and you’ve got to figure out what in the box is not working,” he adds. “The analytical skills I learned in engineering, asking why and knowing how to solve problems, all have served me well as an anesthesiologist, as a clinical researcher, and as an administrator.”
An Early Influence
Dr. Whitten’s early inspirations to study medicine began with regular visits to a dentist in his native Missouri. The dentist had a wonderful bedside manner and treated his young patient and father with the ultimate respect.
“In many ways, that dentist still influences what I look for in new faculty members: a common touch and a salt-of-the-earth foundation,” Dr. Whitten says. “I believe it’s important that we, as anesthesiologists, do as much as we can to develop a caring, trusting relationship with each person, so they know they are in good hands, even when they are asleep and have no control.”
While training as a resident at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dr. Whitten became interested in the coagulopathies associated with liver transplants and the use of the thromboelastogram as a monitor for clotting problems. He considers his most significant scientific contributions to be his studies of the coagulopathies in surgical and obstetrical patients and the effects of aprotinin and desmopressin.
Responding to a Growing Demand
Dr. Whitten became Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management in 2008, inheriting an extraordinary legacy of achievement in clinical research and discovery, physician training, and clinical care. Now, he is focused on building the department to meet the needs of patients in the 21st century.
“We have team members in every operating room on campus, plus the VA Hospital and sites at Children’s–Legacy and Scottish Rite for Children,” he notes. “The department plays a major role in the coverage of acute and chronic pain services, as well as services in the intensive care units across our clinical footprint.”
Demand for the department’s clinical expertise has been growing, Dr. Whitten says, as more subspecialties adopt therapies that require anesthesia support outside the operating room.
“I want patients to know that we are dedicated to patient-centric practice, a fundamental principle underpinning all our efforts, no matter how much we grow,” he says.
- American Board of Anesthesiology
- American Society of Anesthesiology
- Association of University Anesthesiologists
- International Anesthesia Research Society
- Texas Society of Anesthesiologists
- D Magazine Best Doctor 2020-2021
- Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society 2000
- Joe Billy Wood Award 1985, Competition for first year Anesthesiology Residents
- Mortar Board 1979, Society honoring outstanding college students for scholarship/leadership/ethos
- Technical Club Prize 1977, Award for Outstanding First Year Engineering Student-SMU
- Valedictorian 1976, Boonville Missouri High School
Organizational factors influencing clinical productivity of academic anesthesiology departments
Abouleish AE, Prough DS, Barker SJ, Whitten CW, Uchida T, Apfelbaum JL Anesthesia & Analgesia 2003
Influence of crystalloid and colloid replacement solutions in acute normovolemic hemodilution: A preliminary survey of hemostatic markers
Jones SB, Whitten CW, Despotis G, Monk T Anesthesia & Analgesia 2003 96 363-368
Comparing clinical productivity of anesthesiology groups
Abouleish AE, Prough DS, Whitten CW, Zornow MH, Lockhart A, Conlay LA, Abate JJ Anesthesiology 2002 97 608-616
Anesthetic considerations for bariatric surgery
Ogunnaike BO, Jones SB, Jones DB, Provost D, Whitten CW Anesthesia & Analgesia 2002 95 1793-1805
The impact of longer-than-average anesthesia times on the billing of academic anesthesiology departments
Abouleish AE, Prough DS, Hughes J, Whitten CW, conlay LA, Abate JJ, Horn TE Anesthesia & Analgesia 2001 93 1537-1543
Thromboelastography: Past, Present and Future
Whitten CW, Greilich PE Anesthesiology 2000 92 1223-1225
D-dimer formation during cardiac and non-cardiac thoracic surgery
Whitten C, Greilich P, Ivy R, Burkhardt D, Allison P Anesthesia & Analgesia 1999 88 1226-1231
Does the duration of cardiopulmonary bypass or aortic cross-clamp, in the absence of blood and /or blood product administration, influence the IL-6 response to cardiac surgery?
Whitten CW, Hill GE, Ivy R, Greilich PE, Lipton JM Anesthesia & Analgesia 1998 86 28-33
Aprotinin for primary coronary artery bypass grafting: A multi-center trial of three dose regimens
Lemmer JH, Dilling EW, Morton JR, Rich JB, Robicsek F, Bricker DL, Hantler CB, Copeland JG, Ochsner JL, Daily PO, Whitten CW, Noon GP, Maddi R Annals of Thoracic Surgery 1996 62 1659-1668
Considerations for anesthetic management during veno-venous bypass in adult hepatic transplantation
Paulsen AW Whitten CW, Ramsay MAE, Klintmalm Anesthesia & Analgesia 1989 68 489-496
- Organizational factors influencing clinical productivity of academic anesthesiology departments
- Economics of Academic Anesthesia Practice
- Peri-op coagulation abnormalities
- Peri-op inflammatory responses
- Pain Management