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Spotlight on…

ASA Monitor Today

Some people may not even know how compelling or inspirational their stories are. This section shines a spotlight on an individual or group who has done or is doing something remarkable and whose story deserves an audience.


2024 – May 31

2023 – November  |  October  |  June  |  May  |  April  |  March  |  February  |  January


International recognition for asa past president beverly philip

May 31

Beverly K. Philip receiving an award at a ceremonyBeverly K. Philip, ASA Past President (2021) and Past President of the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia (1991-92), was inducted as an Honorary Member of the International Association for Ambulatory Surgery (IAAS) on May 13 at the IAAS International Congress in Oslo, Norway. The mission of the IAAS is to promote the worldwide development and growth of high-quality ambulatory surgery through education, training, and research.

Dr. Philip represented SAMBA at the IAAS and is an IAAS Past President. She received this award after completing her term on the organization’s Executive Committee. The Honorary Member award was given to Dr. Philip “in recognition and acknowledgement of her role as an eminent pioneer, and of her distinguished contributions to the development of the concept of ambulatory surgery.”

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November 2023

Spotlight on… Major milestone for a renowned academic department

November 3

Past and present members of the University of Utah Anesthesiology Department gathered for a 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration held on September 16, 2023 at the Grand America in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Special guests included: keynote speaker, Stanford Professor Emeritus and ASA Monitor Editor-in-Chief, Steven L. Shafer, ASA Immediate Past President, Randall Clark, CEO of University of Utah Health, Dean of the University of Utah School of Medicine, and the Senior Vice President of Health Sciences, Michael Good, Dean of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine (interim), Associate Vice President of Clinical Affairs, Sam Finalyson, and Professor Emeritus, 90-year-old Harry Wong and his family.

Picture 1 from University of Utah Anesthesiology Department's 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration

Guests enjoyed music provided by the Utah Medical Orchestra, a cocktail hour in the courtyard, a delicious catered dinner, and short program which included the debut of a video celebrating the Anesthesiology Department’s accomplishments over the last 50 years.

Picture 2 from University of Utah Anesthesiology Department's 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration

Further coverage of the University of Utah’s developments over the past half century is forthcoming in the ASA Monitor’s January 2024 issue. Department of Anesthesiology leaders will share details of its 24/7/365 rescue ECHO service by anesthesiologists who are certified at the highest level by the American Board of Echocardiography – the same level of certification that a cardiologist would obtain – and its refinement of TIVA techniques. Only about six percent of all general anesthetics are administered by TIVA nationally, but at the University of Utah, over 50 percent of cases use TIVA.

According to Talmage Egan, Department Chair, the anesthesiology department’s greatest impact may be its cultural shift. “In the old model, a university used to be faculty-centric, with a focus on grants, and awards and publications,” says Dr. Egan. “This was a culture of knowledge, and our new model is intended to move away from the Ivory Tower into something more practical – a culture of impact. It doesn’t do you any good to create knowledge if it doesn’t benefit people. We seek to create techniques and products that improve patients’ lives. This new model of innovation, spin-offs, and products is much more student-and-patient-centric.”

Picture 3 from University of Utah Anesthesiology Department's 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration    

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October 2023

Spotlight on… High accolade for Monitor editor

October 24

Kumar Belani receiving an awardKumar Belani, ASA Monitor Editor and Professor of Anesthesiology, Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Minnesota, was recently honored by the Minnesota Society of Anesthesiologists at their annual meeting on September 30, 2023. He received the Distinguished Service Award for his significant contributions in anesthesiology as a superb clinician (for newborns, infants, children, and adults), clinician-scientist, researcher, educator, and promoter of global health exchange.

One of Dr. Belani's pioneering achievements is his groundbreaking work in anesthesia care for children requiring liver transplantation and those afflicted with complex rare hereditary and genetic disorders. His tireless efforts have not only advanced the field, but also improved the lives of countless children.

He has served as President of the Minnesota Society of Anesthesiologists and the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia. He was elected to the Academy of Excellence in Healthcare Practice at the University of Minnesota and was honored with the President's Award for Outstanding Service. He has received the MH Hotline Partnership Award, the Distinguished Professor Award, the Award for Global Engagement, the Distinguished Physician Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and The Minnesota Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congratulations, Dr. Belani!

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June 2023

Spotlight on… Imagining the 100% Medicare practice: not a pretty sight

June 8

Calculated payments example graphThe goal of this study is to analyze the effects of a complete replacement of the current blend of payers to a single Medicare-only conversion factor for a single physician providing full-time clinical services in a physician-only practice setting. The analysis is based only on clinical compensation and does not take into account hospital support, care team models, or nonclinical financial support that can influence revenue.

The simplicity of this study is intentional to clearly define the effect on collected clinical revenues from a complete conversion to Medicare payment rates. The result of this analysis demonstrates the magnitude of revenue loss in percent and absolute dollars for a typical anesthesiologist in practice to document the effect on clinical revenue. Anesthesia administrators can then use this to estimate the effect in their specific practice setting.

Read more on this analysis, which confirms the expected outcome that payments at the Medicare rate are inadequate to support anesthesia practices. Should the Medicare conversion factor become the dominant contractual payment rate, practices will need to find support for personnel expenses, or anesthesia practices will face declining viability. This would have a significant effect on anesthesia patient care, as the economic incentives would encourage physicians to choose other specialties, resulting in a shortage of anesthesiologists to provide necessary care for patients who need it.

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Spotlight on… Out with the gavel, in with the ‘SCE to AUX’ switch: Anesthesiologist elected President of the Aerospace Human Factors Association (AsHFA)

June 1

Keith J. Ruskin, Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Director of Aerospace Medicine at the University of Chicago, and member of the ASA Committee on Patient Safety and Education, was elected last month as President of the Aerospace Human Factors Association (AsHFA).

Keith J. Ruskin receiving plaque

AsHFA was established to promote human factors considerations in the development of aerospace systems. Human factors research encompasses the study of human psychological and biological characteristics in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. AsHFA welcomes physicians, engineers, psychologists, and other professionals who have an interest in human factors. In addition to organizing panel presentations for the Aerospace Medical Association’s annual meeting, AsHFA provides human factors experts with opportunities to network and share information.

plaque that says Aerospace human factors association president

One of Dr. Ruskin’s first actions as president represented a slight tweaking of the status quo: He suggested that the traditional passing of the gavel be replaced with a passing of a plaque mounted with an “SCE to AUX” switch. If you’re unfamiliar with the significance of this switch in the history of the U.S. space program, learn more here.

Congratulations to Dr. Ruskin – and all the steely eyed missile men and women of AsHFA.

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May 2023

Spotlight on… ACE program celebrates 20 years

May 12

ASA Monitor website on the screen of a laptopA lot has changed in the last 20 years, from the expanding use of cell phones and social media to scientific advances in stem cell research and mapping the human genome.

Despite these changes, the core format of the ACE program has remained unaltered, providing 100 multiple choice questions per issue, with two issues released each year in April and October. The questions are merely an introduction to the learning that takes place in each of the corresponding discussions, where our editors have collated and presented clinically relevant information with helpful figures, tables, and images in full color.

The editorial board is proud that, consistently, more than 99% of our 10,000 subscribers say they would recommend ACE to a colleague.

Standard anesthesia knowledge is the core of ACE, but recent additions include:

  • More sophisticated clinical scenarios
  • Content on published guidelines and recommendations
  • Coverage of state licensing and other pertinent items
  • Patient safety credit with each issue

Read the full article to learn more about ACE, including information on applying to the editorial board.

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Spotlight on… University of Nebraska Medical Center expands while keeping trainees well cared for

May 3

As outlined in this article, University of Nebraska Medical Center is in growth mode. An expansion of its neuroanesthesia division and neurosurgical team is in the works and it’s always busy with visceral transplants, lung transplants, liver transplants, and more.

Joseph Pawlowski, MD, an assistant professor specializing in neuroanesthesiology and critical care medicine, and pediatric cardiologist Mohanad Shukry, MD, PhD, explain how the organization recognizes that a key to their success is the Anesthesiology Residents Wellness Program.

Program highlights include:

  • Non-clinical day off for their birthdays
  • QR codes placed all over the hospital for real-time submission of appreciation forms
  • Peer support program, allowing residents to have the necessary backup to take time off and recharge after a traumatic event
  • Organized group activities for physical and social wellness

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Spotlight On… James C. Eisenach, MD, to Retire as FAER President

May 2Roger A. Johns

Fellow Board of Directors member Roger A. Johns, MD, MHS, PhD, pays tribute to outgoing Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) president James Eisenach, MD.

His accomplishments since 2016 include strategic leadership roles in:

  • Creation of the FAER Mentored Research Training Grant annual meeting
  • Development of co-sponsored grants with the American Board of Anesthesiology, Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, and the American Heart Association, among others
  • Establishment of a new fellowship at the National Academy of Medicine for early-career anesthesiology scholars

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April 2023

Spotlight On… Laura Zhang – AUA Junior Faculty Research Awardee

April 28

Yiying (Laura) Zhang, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, was awarded the Junior Faculty Research Award for Clinical Science for her observational study showing the association between gut microbiota and postoperative delirium in a first-in-human study at the AUA Annual Meeting on April 13, 2023.

Postoperative delirium is a challenging and common occurrence in elderly patients.1 There are numerous factors known to be associated with postoperative delirium. At the recent AUA meeting in Denver, Colorado, Dr. Zhang shed some light on this difficult clinical problem. In the first-of-its-kind study in humans, she and her co-investigators demonstrated an association between gut microbiota and postoperative delirium. This was an important milestone for her research group as it marks their first human study evaluating the role of gut microbiota.

Her group conducted an observational study between 2016 and 2020 at Massachusetts General Hospital. It appears that there is a potential link between gut microbiota and postoperative delirium in the elderly undergoing knee or hip replacement surgery or laminectomy under general or spinal anesthesia. They collected fecal swabs in 220 patients and found that the gut bacterium Parabacteroides distasonis was associated with postoperative delirium. This study highlights the importance of the connection between the gut and the brain and its role in postoperative delirium. Zhongcong Xie, Director of the Geriatric Anesthesia Research Unit at MGH and the Henry K. Beecher Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, is now attempting to elucidate potential mechanisms of postoperative delirium. The investigators have indicated that this study has been provisionally accepted for publication.

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Spotlight On… Odinakachukwu (Odi) Ehie – AUA IDEAL Award winner

April 21

Odinakachukwu (Odi) EhieAnesthesiology continues to excel in recognizing the value of diversity, inclusion, equity, acceptance, and leadership. At the Association of University Anesthesiologists (AUA) meeting last week on April 13, 2023, the society recognized Odinakachukwu (Odi) Ehie by honoring her with its IDEAL Award (“Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Acceptance, and Leadership” Award). She is Clinical Associate Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and has been a wonderful leader of diversity and inclusion initiatives at UCSF. She has played a major role in successfully recruiting a significant number of underrepresented medical students to UCSF.

As a leader in education, she was responsible for developing a curriculum with a focus on anti-racism for medical students in their preclinical years. The medical students at her school successfully nominated her for the prestigious UCSF Haile T. Debas Excellence in Teaching Award. Her successful implementation of a new DEI interactive curriculum at UCSF resulted in her being awarded the UCSF GME Excellence and Innovation Award.

She has also been recognized by ASA in 2018 and 2020, when she received the ASA’s Mentoring Program Award. In 2022, she was recognized by the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research and given a Research in Education Grant for her work on expanding the DEI curriculum among perioperative trainees. Not surprisingly, she was inducted into UCSF’s Academy of Medical Educators in 2021!

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Spotlight On… Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (SOCCA)

April 5

SOCCA eLearning webinar series on a laptop screenMeet the 1,150-member Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists (SOCCA)! This group has grown exponentially from 370 members in 2018. The focus of SOCCA’s efforts involves supporting the needs of critical care anesthesiologists who have diverse backgrounds and expertise that encompass the care of patients in the OR as well as critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).

Importantly, members of the group have been working to address the current lack of uniform ultrasound teaching in the current anesthesiology critical care education landscape. Under the direction of subcommittee chairs Drs. Louisa Palmer and Lee Goedde, their aim is to explore the current state of ultrasound teaching methodologies in anesthesiology critical care medicine fellowship programs, develop consensus recommendations on ultrasound education, and promote multi-institutional collaboration.

SOCCA’s membership spans all career levels. Workgroups include:

  • Early Career Intensivists
  • Medical Students
  • Residents
  • Fellows
  • Physicians in Private Practice
  • Women in Critical Care
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Critical Care Ultrasound
  • Research and Medical Education

Learn more about the society’s research accomplishments, expert Speakers’ Bureau, education achievements, and more in “SOCCA: A Growing Community of Intensivists Embracing the Challenges of Modern Critical Care.”

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March 2023

Spotlight on… Anesthesiology and Surgery Team Performing History-Making Conjoined Twin Separation Surgery

March 24

Anesthesiologist Chandra Reynolds, MD, Medical Director of Perioperative Services at Cook Children’s Medical Center, shared in an interview the extensive planning and challenges involved in the groundbreaking conjoined twin separation surgery on Jan. 23, 2023. For the first time in the hospital’s 105-year history, a team of 25 medical professionals, including three anesthesiologists, four pediatric surgeons, two plastic surgeons, and 18 other clinical professionals, successfully separated conjoined twins JamieLynn and AmieLynn after 11 hours of surgery. Read their remarkable story.

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Spotlight on… Patient Safety Awareness Week and Low-Flow Anesthesia

March 17

Old black and white photo of a surgeon

As Patient Safety Awareness Week winds down, it’s the perfect time to reflect on Dr. Ralph Waters’ introduction of carbon dioxide absorbents to facilitate rebreathing of exhaled anesthetics, and reduce the need for adding fresh gas and anesthetic to the breathing circuit, as described in this article.

Even 100 years later, the practice of low-flow anesthesia is in the spotlight. While the advantages of reducing cost and preserving heat and humidity are still relevant, global warming has highlighted the environmental impact of inhaled anesthetics. This adds another motivation to adopt practices that reduce the anesthetic gases entering the atmosphere via the scavenging system.

The scientific foundations of low-flow anesthesia have been well known for decades and are readily available in both journal and textbook publications. Many of the publications are highly technical, however, and the basic knowledge needed to practice low-flow anesthesia has not been consistently taught to trainees, nor does board certification require any specific knowledge of the practice. Fortunately, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), in collaboration with ASA, has launched an online course on low-flow anesthesia using guided simulation to help the learner develop the mental models needed to comfortably embark on a practice of low-flow anesthesia. Register today!

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Spotlight On… Virginia Mason Medical Center

March 3

Virginia Mason Medical Center logoJustin Liberman, MD, MPH, faculty liaison between Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington and Morehouse School of Medicine, describes the nuances of how their 4-week visiting rotation partnership benefits both organizations by:

  • Expanding access to undergraduate and graduate medical education
  • Providing shadowing opportunities in and out of the OR; participation in subspecialty rotations like cardiac, thoracic, and regional; and involvement in the pain clinic and the acute pain service
  • Establishing foundational mentorship with attending physicians
  • Facilitating a more diverse provider representation

For more information—including a discussion on how Virginia Mason is using quality optimization tools to improve patient relations and health outcomes—read the full Facility Spotlight article in ASA Monitor.

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February 2023

Spotlight on… Past President: Linda Mason

February 1

Linda MasonLinda Mason, MD, FASA, ASA’s third female president and the first ASA president board-certified in pediatric anesthesiology, insists that these are not her greatest accomplishments.

To be fair, choosing an accomplishment could be a daunting task for Dr. Mason. She served as a past president of the California Society of Anesthesiologists (2004-2005), president of the Association of Anesthesiology Subspecialty Program Directors (2008-2009), and a member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education Review Committee for Anesthesiology (2010-2016). She has had a role on the Society Board of Directors since 2006, served as secretary and a member of the ASA Administrative Council, and chaired ASA’s Committee on Membership and both the Section on Administration and Section on Board Administrative Affairs. Dr. Mason’s list of scholarly publications is extensive and her conference presentations span decades.

That aside, Dr. Mason considers her role in training pediatric anesthesia fellows to be her most significant accomplishment. “I’m very proud of everyone I’ve trained and the most important thing we, as anesthesiologists, can do is to give back to the next generation,” she reasoned.

Dr. Mason is still practicing pediatric anesthesiology and is chair of the Board of the Pediatric Anesthesiology Leadership Council (PALC). She’s still living her mantra that mentoring younger physicians is essential after transitioning out of a national office. The ASA Monitor caught up with Dr. Mason on what’s changed in the industry since her 2019 presidency and how new generations can forge a path to leadership.

As only the third female ASA president, can you speak to any challenges you had to overcome?

When I was running for the office, I asked that people vote for me not because I was a woman, but because I was the best candidate. I had already been the only woman on the administrative council when I was first elected as assistant secretary. Whatever your gender, it is important in association leadership to be able to read people and make them feel confident that you as a leader will represent them fairly. A lot has changed, even since my presidency, and there are more women in leadership positions.

The greatest challenge is still the time commitment and balancing professional and family responsibilities. This can mean caring for elderly parents, not just children. You can take time off and it may not be that difficult to go back to clinical practice, but there still isn’t a good re-entry path in professional societies.

What advice would you offer to anyone—male or female—trying to blend professional growth with personal responsibilities?

Stay involved in committees! There is actually a growing dialogue about this and it’s a positive step. If we can keep members on committees throughout their career span, they don’t risk losing so much “active” time. This way, when the time opens again and they can make a bigger commitment to professional societies, they are already a known entity.

You outlined seven areas of focus for anesthesiologists in your outgoing message in 2020, specifically surprise medical bill legislation, preserving physician-led care for our patients, pediatric dental sedation, physician wellness, an increased attention to academic and subspecialty relations, our work to address drug shortages, and the opioid crisis. What progress do you think has been made on these issues since your tenure as president?

There has been a great deal of progress, even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are more cognizant of the opioid crisis and doctors are doing a better job of informing patients of proper drug disposal. As far as dental anesthesia, there’s been a lot of movement on appropriate medical personnel in the room to handle any potential problems and provide safe care for children in dental offices. The physician anesthesia care team model supported by a nurse anesthetist or an anesthesiology assistant allows the entire team to function in areas we all can excel. In terms of surprise medical billing, the federal solution No Surprises Act (NSA) has not been positive. This is still a work in progress and we want to avoid patients getting caught in the middle between the insurance companies and the anesthesia provider. We hope this will be addressed at the 2023-2024 Congress. Another great area of growth has been better cohesion between academic and subspecialty societies.

The opioid crisis occupied a great deal of your attention during your time in national leadership roles and you mentioned greater awareness of the problem post-2020. Can you identify any new developments related to the addiction crisis that you find encouraging?

I think there’s a lot of cause for hope on the horizon! We’re having success in getting fentanyl off the streets and teens are realizing the danger of these drugs. In medical settings, we’ve been using pain relief methods that don’t include opioids to avoid prolonged opioid use and addiction.

What messages do you think the public needs to hear about anesthesiology?

Patients do need to know anesthesiologists are physicians and that it’s a physician who is taking care of you. Safe care is proven to be enhanced in an environment where physicians are supervising other health care providers. Patients don’t always understand who is taking care of them and a physician-involved care team is the safest model.

What advice would you offer to a younger generation of anesthesiologists?

Be passionate! Serve on national and state professional society committees and medical staff/hospital committees. Be visible and be ready to accept appointments. Open your mind to what fits you the best, be it quality, economics, or any area you’re passionate about. Never give up. There’s always another opportunity. Churchill defines success as going from “failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Be a good listener! We’re used to talking and giving opinions, but I’ve learned more from listening. That’s hard for some of us to do. Even if you don’t agree, when you let the other person express their views, that’s how you gain a better understanding and build consensus as a leader.

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January 2023

Spotlight on… Gunisha Kaur

January 13

Dr. Kaur (far left) in Punjab, India, working with families who have been affected by debt-related agricultural suicideGunisha Kaur, MD, MA, a former ASA Monitor Editor, was selected last fall as an Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine (ELHM) Scholar by the National Academy of Medicine – one of 10 ELHM Scholars recognized nationwide in 2022. Dr. Kaur is Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Director of the Human Rights Impact Lab, and Medical Director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The ELHM program offers a unique opportunity for early- to mid-career leaders to collaborate with NAM members across a wide range of sectors and to be immersed in mentorship opportunities with the nation’s rising and established leaders in health and medicine. Dr. Kaur will serve as an ELHM Scholar for three years, while continuing to work at her primary institutions.

Dr. Kaur is recognized internationally as an accomplished anesthesiologist and medical researcher with a passion for human rights. She and her family came to the United States as immigrants in the 1980s, a journey that sparked her interest in the health of immigrant populations and created a deep connection to the field that resonates in all her work. She has been recognized for her work from the earliest stages of her career. Dr. Kaur was a recipient of a two-year, $100,000 Research in Education Grant from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) in 2016 when she proposed “A novel model for global health education in anesthesiology.”

It was FAER President James Eisenach, MD, who nominated Dr. Kaur for the ELHM honor. She said FAER gave her an invaluable early opportunity to conduct research in an unexplored area of science and to establish new pathways for investigation into refugee health.

“This is what FAER does,” Dr. Kaur said. “Invest in young people with new ideas to move the field of anesthesiology forward through cutting-edge research.”

Dr. Kaur believes that anesthesiologists are in a unique position to lead the increasingly growing and critical field of refugee health, given their training and ability to comprehend and tackle complex health issues. 
“Anesthesiology means looking at the whole patient – not just the heart, or lungs, or brain, but all of it together,” she said. “Similarly, medical anthropology/human rights means looking at the entire situation from which a patient presents – access to insurance, language barriers, legal status – all together.”

Dr. Kaur is particularly excited about the work she’s doing in the Human Rights Impact Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine, with its diverse mix of faculty, post-docs, residents, and students, all working to establish a discipline for which a formal job description does not yet exist. Like the lab that she directs, Dr. Kaur’s career continues to be defined by innovation – creating, as opposed to following, a defined path.

The ASA Monitor congratulates Dr. Kaur for being chosen as an ELHM Scholar and for representing our specialty as a trailblazer in the field of refugee health research.

Photo caption: Dr. Kaur (far left) in Punjab, India, working with families who have been affected by debt-related agricultural suicide.

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Spotlight on… Gunisha Kaur

January 13

Dr. Kaur (far left) in Punjab, India, working with families who have been affected by debt-related agricultural suicideGunisha Kaur, MD, MA, a former ASA Monitor Editor, was selected last fall as an Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine (ELHM) Scholar by the National Academy of Medicine – one of 10 ELHM Scholars recognized nationwide in 2022. Dr. Kaur is Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Director of the Human Rights Impact Lab, and Medical Director of the Weill Cornell Center for Human Rights at Weill Cornell Medicine.

The ELHM program offers a unique opportunity for early- to mid-career leaders to collaborate with NAM members across a wide range of sectors and to be immersed in mentorship opportunities with the nation’s rising and established leaders in health and medicine. Dr. Kaur will serve as an ELHM Scholar for three years, while continuing to work at her primary institutions.

Dr. Kaur is recognized internationally as an accomplished anesthesiologist and medical researcher with a passion for human rights. She and her family came to the United States as immigrants in the 1980s, a journey that sparked her interest in the health of immigrant populations and created a deep connection to the field that resonates in all her work. She has been recognized for her work from the earliest stages of her career. Dr. Kaur was a recipient of a two-year, $100,000 Research in Education Grant from the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) in 2016 when she proposed “A novel model for global health education in anesthesiology.”

It was FAER President James Eisenach, MD, who nominated Dr. Kaur for the ELHM honor. She said FAER gave her an invaluable early opportunity to conduct research in an unexplored area of science and to establish new pathways for investigation into refugee health.

“This is what FAER does,” Dr. Kaur said. “Invest in young people with new ideas to move the field of anesthesiology forward through cutting-edge research.”

Dr. Kaur believes that anesthesiologists are in a unique position to lead the increasingly growing and critical field of refugee health, given their training and ability to comprehend and tackle complex health issues. 
“Anesthesiology means looking at the whole patient – not just the heart, or lungs, or brain, but all of it together,” she said. “Similarly, medical anthropology/human rights means looking at the entire situation from which a patient presents – access to insurance, language barriers, legal status – all together.”

Dr. Kaur is particularly excited about the work she’s doing in the Human Rights Impact Lab at Weill Cornell Medicine, with its diverse mix of faculty, post-docs, residents, and students, all working to establish a discipline for which a formal job description does not yet exist. Like the lab that she directs, Dr. Kaur’s career continues to be defined by innovation – creating, as opposed to following, a defined path.

The ASA Monitor congratulates Dr. Kaur for being chosen as an ELHM Scholar and for representing our specialty as a trailblazer in the field of refugee health research.

Photo caption: Dr. Kaur (far left) in Punjab, India, working with families who have been affected by debt-related agricultural suicide.

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