Society for Education in Anesthesia Annual Meeting and Workshops. Dallas, Texas, October 8, 1999.

Conducted at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel on October 8, 1999, the Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA) Annual Meeting was highly rated by all in attendance. Present were dynamic speakers possessing expertise in the evolving field of medical education and an audience of motivated individuals wanting to impact the quality of anesthesia training in this country. The theme of the meeting was “Achieving Excellence–Balancing Academic Mission with Fiscal Realities in the Next Millenium.” The meeting had three major objectives. The first objective was to confront the economic realities and changing market forces of the new millennium by developing innovative strategies to ensure quality anesthesia education for medical students and residents. The second objective was to foster anesthesia education by empowering anesthesia educators via  instruction on leadership skills and characteristics necessary for professional development. The third objective was to provide a forum for anesthesia educators to share ideas and discuss creative approaches to anesthesia education.

John D. Emhardt, M.D., President of SEA, welcomed everyone after a series of roundtable ad hoc  committee discussions. The keynote speaker, Charles H. McLeskey, M.D. (Professor and Chairperson, Department of Anesthesiology, Scott & White Hospital, Texas A&M University), inspired everyone with ideas on how to “Obtain and Apply Leadership Qualities in an Evolving Marketplace.” Dr. McLeskey stated that leadership is required to produce effective results in a variety of settings. He reviewed 10 timeless characteristics that have made leaders effective. Of note, he encouraged practicing these skills, because merely being aware of these characteristics is not enough. Dr. McLeskey concluded by stating that the best way faculty can impart these qualities to residents and medical students is by being a role model.

Denham S. Ward, M.D. (Professor and Chairperson, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Rochester), shared numerous strategies on how to be successful at “Motivation.” In fact, he stated that the many changes facing academic medicine have made creating a motivating departmental environment a key element in any survival strategy. He described motivation as very complex, especially after basic needs have been met. Traditionally, incentives have been time, space, and money. However, Dr. Ward believes that tensions found in departments are the difficulty. Often, individuals pursuing academic careers settle for more time and lower salaries than counterparts in private practice. If their efforts are not rewarded and they feel undervalued, they will pursue other career opportunities. Dr. Ward therefore concluded that the department must establish a motivating environment using the right balance of space, time, money, recognition, and promotion to ensure that all feel equally valued.

Roberta L. Hines, M.D. (Professor and Chairperson, Department of Anesthesiology, Yale University School of Medicine), provided an organized summary on “Physician Development: How to Adapt to the Market.” Dr. Hines began by highlighting traditional and nontraditional opportunities for faculty development. She reviewed the cost–benefit ratio of advanced degrees. Dr. Hines stated that adaptability, flexibility, and creativity are skills necessary for future development. She concluded with a discussion on resources available for faculty development.

The next topic, “Characteristics of Extraordinary Anesthesiologists–Implications for Anesthesia Education,” was presented by Phillip L. Liu, M.D. (Professor and Chairperson, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey), who has dedicated his career to education. Dr. Liu reviewed studies examining behaviors possessed by residents who are superior learners. He described three critical behaviors that develop extraordinary “reflective anesthesiologists”: self-directed learning, critical thinking, and reflective learning. Dr. Liu also provided a review of the educational implications for creating reflective anesthesiologists.

Danna B. Peterson, M.D. (Associate Professor, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs/Minority Support, University of Massachusetts), enlightened everyone on “Minority Issues” in education. She distinguished a separation between international medical graduates and U.S. minorities. U.S. minorities have confronted racism and barriers to education, housing, and other rights for generations. Their barrier to education included equity in premedical education, admissions criteria, and mentoring. She stated that international medical graduates have not been minorities in their own country and then suddenly encounter barriers facing minorities as they enter residencies. Dr. Peterson remarked that cultural conflicts over dress code, time off for celebrating holidays, praying, or fasting can be negotiated to win–win solutions. She also suggested that faculty as well as trainees develop cultural competence.

Dr. Emhardt presented the 1999 SEA/Duke Award for Excellence and Innovation in Anesthesia Education to Susan Polk, M.D., for her significant contribution to anesthesia education. The Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University generously provided the $5,000 grant. Dr. Polk gave a heartwarming address consisting of her “Reflections and Projections” for medical education.

The SEA was fortunate to have the Executive Director of the ACGME, David C. Leach, M.D., and the Executive Director of the RRC for Anesthesiology, Judith Armbruster, Ph.D., answer the question “Are External Forces Evolving a New Quality Standard for Residency Programs?” Their expertise and vision were revealed as they predicted what ramifications the ACGME’s new initiatives will be for anesthesia educators and medical education. In summary, they stated the initiatives would use outcomes as an accreditation tool, promote institutional accountability and good learning for good health care, implement improvement models, and incorporate data management.

Thomas Royer, M.D. (Chief Executive Officer of Christus Health System and member of the Board of Trustees of the American Heart Association), simplified “Balancing Academic Mission with Fiscal Realities” by condensing the topic into the 10 drivers that will change health care in the future. He concluded with an action plan to offset revenue deficiencies. His message for education was as follows:revenue providers of the healthcare industry must realize the need to commit to the educational process of residents, for only this will provide quality physicians who can positively impact the healthcare budget. 

The plenary sessions were followed by four excellent workshops. Dr. Armbruster conducted a workshop on how to “Prepare for a Site Visit by the RRC.” She answered numerous questions and helped the participants by informing them of ways to facilitate the process. Dr. Armbruster encouraged beginning preparation 1 yr before a review. She reviewed specific items that should be collected on an ongoing basis. She also suggested assembling a preparation team, consisting of a coordinator, faculty, and residents to assist with the review process. Jeffrey S. Jacobs, M.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesi- ology, University of Miami), and Christopher Montgomery, M.D. (Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Kentucky), led an interactive workshop on various ways to “Get Medical Students to Enjoy Anesthesiology.” Dr. Montgomery designed a 1-month clinical pharmacology course for senior medical students. Dr. Jacobs reformatted a clinical rotation based on lectures and a standard text to encompass more problem-based learning discussions and handouts. Their measures maintained examination performance, yet improved student satisfaction. The workshop by Dr. Liu, Letty M. P. Liu, M.D. (Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey), and Melissa Davidson, M.D. (Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey), provided their participants with a simulated case on how to handle a “Problem Resident.” Emphasis was placed on determining the cause of the problem (affective vs.  cognitive), analysis of study habits, and therapeutic modalities available. Berend Mets, M.B., Ph.D., F.R.C.A. (Associate Vice Chair, Resident Education, Associate Professor, Clinical Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University), conducted a thought-provoking and lively workshop covering “Practical, Fair, and Legally Sound Resident Evaluation.” He highlighted that the essence of appropriate resident evaluation is to define clearly academic, clinical, and professional expectations and then to keep residents informed of their progress both verbally and in writing.

In conclusion, attendees left the meeting enthusiastic over the altruistic purpose of education. The meeting provided participants with innovative ideas that will help their careers, their institutions, their training programs, and, hence, anesthesia education.