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Joe Ornato

Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center

  • Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine

Dr. Ornato was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated from Boston University Medical School magna cum laude. He completed his training in Internal Medicine at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital and in Cardiology at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center. He is triple board certified (Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine). Dr. Ornato is an active researcher focused on acute cardiovascular/prehospital care and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Dr. Ornato served as the American Editor of Resuscitation for 23 years and is currently on its Editorial Board. He is also an Editorial Board member for the American Journal of Emergency Medicine and the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. Dr. Ornato is past Chairman of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) National Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee and its Advanced Cardiac Life Support Subcommittee and served as the AHA’s national representative to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Heart Attack Alert Program’s Coordinating Committee and Chairman of its Science Base Subcommittee. Dr. Ornato served as a Special Consultant to the Circulatory System Devices Panel of the Food and Drug Administration. He chaired the National Steering Committee on the NIH/AHA/Industry Public Access Defibrillation Trial and was the Principal Investigator on a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Bioterrorism Training grant.

Dr. Ornato served as Cardiac Co-Chairman of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC) and as Principal Investigator for VCU on the NIH-sponsored Neurological Emergency Treatment Trials (NETT) Network. He is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine). Among his 29 local, regional, and national awards, he was particularly honored to receive the 2016 American Heart Association’s National Clinical Research Prize, which is bestowed upon only one cardiovascular clinical researcher in the United States annually. Dr. Ornato is currently VCU site co-PI for the NIH ICECAP therapeutic hypothermia duration post-cardiac arrest trial. From 2015-17 he served as PI for an NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) STTR project developing the infrastructure needed to deliver intranasal naloxone by drone to bystanders at the scene of a life-threatening opioid overdose while EMS units race to the scene. He is currently Co-PI in collaboration with Duke University of an American Heart Association, 4-year HERN project implementing programs to deliver automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to bystanders by drone to treat out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims in suburban and rural communities.

Dr. Ornato is an instrument-rated pilot who flies a high-performance propjet. He is also a commercial drone pilot.