In 1905, George Santayana famously said, “Those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it.” Beyond this rather narrow motivation, members of the Anesthesia History Association (AHA) would add that every anesthesiologist has an obligation to understand the history of the progress of anesthesia practice and technology as part of our claim to be “professionals.”

One of the most accomplished and revered “professionals” in the history of anesthesiology was C. Ronald Stephen, M.D. Dr. Stephen’s contributions are too numerous to list here, except to say that he was not only a foremost clinician, investigator and tireless mentor, but also an early leader in the effort to preserve and teach the history of anesthesia.

Thus, after his death, the AHA established the annual C. Ronald Stephen Anesthesia History Essay Contest, which is open to all physicians or medical...

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