Herodotos Ellinas, MD, MHPE


Milwaukee, WI
[email protected]

The recent upheavals in our country should have emphasized to all of us that human lives matter and that we have an obligation to make the world a better place. We as educators must remember that we shape peoples’ lives by encouraging and promoting certain behaviors.

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.” Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Oslo, Dec 1964.

In 2007 I attended my first SEA educational meeting and was enthralled by SEA’s values to foster collaboration, innovation, scholarship, and inclusivity. I envisioned being guided by those values throughout my own career. In 2014, I was appointed chair of the Society’s Chief Residents’ Workshop where I had my first opportunity to incorporate those beliefs; I led the same workshop for 4 years. I focused on using feedback from needs assessments to meet the needs of the SEA and our individual members. With the help of SEA leaders and mentors, I designed, planned and implemented educational activities to further shape teachers’ abilities to teach and cultivate future leaders’ abilities to lead.

In 2019, I co-chaired the Society’s spring meeting in Denver with the theme of Integration and Diversity. It was yet another opportunity to encourage collaboration and promote inclusivity. The result was a call to action and a creation of a new Task Force for Diversity and Inclusion which I co-chair as of April 2020. My experience in this topic stems from my roles as Anesthesiology core Program Director, and as chair of the Curriculum and Evaluation Committee for the medical school. While I was active in those roles, I initiated conversations regarding underrepresented minority (URM) pipelines, approved curricula related to diversity and inclusion and its social impact and changed policies to further support low-resource students and URM trainees.

Why pursue this role? In the contemporary world of an academic anesthesiologist, challenges include life-work balance, time/money allotted to education, faculty recruitment, research and inclusion. My unique background that includes my Cypriot nationality, my training in internal medicine and pediatrics in the late 20th century, working in rural and private practices for nearly a decade and retraining in pediatric anesthesia in the early 21st century, equips me with a lens to think outside the box and provide solutions for such challenges. I view this role as a new opportunity in my continual quest for knowledge and personal growth, leadership and management development, and desire to apply evidence to solve problems gained through my Master of Health Professions Education (August 2020). I have the skill set, background, personality, and commitment to successfully contribute to and learn from the BOD service.

What is my vision as a BOD member? I aspire to work as a member of a team to shape the future of educators in our specialty by promoting sustainable, collaborative programs and disseminating them nationwide. We need to integrate allied health professionals in the operating room, create virtual learning communities, and have inclusivity and equity be the driver of all educational designs. All steps we have seen emerge from our recent crises (Covid-19, structural racism, global warming). As a member of the BOD, I will seek to continue to have a needs-driven focus on SEA investments to ensure collaboration, innovation, scholarship and an inclusive community as a cornerstone of professional development.