If you ever find yourself asking the question above, know two things: First, nothing is ever off the record, and second, the quote that follows will probably become the centerpiece of the interview. In the days of 24-hour news coverage, blogs, websites, YouTube and television programs looking for salacious topics to discuss with their expert panels, not only is everything “on the record” but it also lives on an easily searchable digital record that can last forever. Thus, now more than ever, it is important to make sure physician anesthesiologists effectively communicate our messages to the public, legislators and policymakers, our patients, and reporters.

Since 1989, ASA has conducted Leadership Spokesperson Training Programs (LSTPs) to provide physician anesthesiologists, including residents, the tools and techniques necessary to deliver our messages and help control the content of media coverage. The...

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