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Highlights of the SEA Fall Meeting on “Building A Professional Identity”

The Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA) Fall Meeting was a great success. With very few open seats at the start, this was the first in-person fall conference since the COVID-19 pandemic and was also paired with the SAAAPM meeting. The theme was “Professional Identity Formation”, a topic that encompasses many of the most urgent issues in anesthesia education today. Conceptually we chose to approach professional identity formation in a two-fold manner. On one hand, your professional identity is, of course, shaped by your personal background and experience, while on the other, our collective identity as a profession is molded by the environment to which we are exposed which is in turn influenced by political, social, and economic (not to mention technological) factors impacting medicine in general and anesthesiology in particular.

The meeting opened with an incredible McLeskey lecture featuring Dr. Jo Shapiro, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Harvard Medical School, Principal Faculty for the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston, and a consultant for the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Anesthesia, Pain, and Critical Care. Her talk, “Fostering Psychological Safety: A Key Driver of Patient Safety and Physician Wellbeing,” inspired our attendees through her personal and profound take on fostering an environment in which we can maintain and elevate our profession for the betterment of both patients and practitioners.

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Good Bedtime Reads: December 2022

Every Deep Drawn Breath by Wes Ely, MD

Every once in a way you come across a book that has so much heart that it takes you by surprise. Dr. Wesley Ely’s book Every Deep Drawn Breath is one such book. As we struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of COVID both for our patients and for us as medical professionals, the book serves as a testament to the power of medicine to unearth truths regarding health and disease. 

What if the very medications and technology that were helping to keep patients alive in the ICU also rob them of the essence of who they were? The author, Dr Wesley Ely, is an internist, pulmonologist, and critical care physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He describes his journey as an intensivist who started off with the very best of intentions and whose observations of the effect of ICU stay on his patients made him question the protocols of modern medicine. The very real struggles of patients after they are discharged from the intensive care unit are painstakingly described and the reader can identify with the existential crisis that patients face when they can no longer live a meaningful life due to the effects of prolonged intubation and ventilation on the brain and other organs. Relating human stories, Dr. Ely outlines the Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) that affects ICU patients, often the result of the treatment they receive to keep them intubated and sedated. The reader is brought along as a spectator through Dr. Ely’s professional and personal journey as he struggles to understand and provide comfort to his patients grappling with an unknown disease. Many face skepticism regarding their symptoms and stories. The book underscores the importance of believing the patient when we cannot understand what they are going through. 

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President's Corner

As 2022 draws to a close and I am charged with writing my first President's message for the SEA. At this time of year, I find it best to express gratitude, do a bit of reflection, and set some resolutions for the new year.

First, I want to thank all our members, both new and established, for helping to keep this society vital, inclusive, and welcoming through the long first act of COVID. We came to together to utilize all our creativity and skill to exchange ideas during one of the darkest times in modern history. Dr. Stephanie Jones deserves special recognition for her stalwart leadership and resolute commitment to our core values. Members of the board and committee leaders and active members all played critical roles in keeping our organization going strong through this difficult period. While we still live under the shadow of this pandemic, we have entered a new phase that allows us to travel and meet again and I am truly grateful for that. The supportive energy that we transfer to each other is unmatched and priceless.

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SEA-HVO Traveling Fellowship Application

Call for Applications
The SEA-HVO Traveling Fellowship 2023

  • Dr. Ronald L. Katz Memorial Fellowship
  • Dr. Harry M. Zutz Memorial Fellowship
  • Dr. Gary Loyd Fellowship
  • SEA Fellowship
  • Dr. Jo Davies/ Dr. Lena E. Dohlman Fellowship
  • Dr. Chris and Rebecca Dobson Fellowship
  • Feintech Family Fellowship

Applications for the 2023 Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA) – Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) Traveling Fellowship are being accepted as of November 15, 2022. All applications must be received by close of business on February 13, 2023.

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2022 SEA Spring Meeting Highlight

2022 SEA Spring Meeting Highlight

After two years of COVID-hiatus, we were finally able to meet like-minded colleagues at the SEA Spring Meeting. The 2022 Spring meeting was successfully held between April 8-10, 2022, in Pittsburgh, attracting 180+ registrants. The meeting Co-Chairs were Dr. Viji Kurup (Yale), Dr. Susan Martinelli (UNC), and Dr. Phillip Adams (UPMC). Dr. Adams also served as the chair of the extremely well-organized social program. 

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From There To Here: Dr. Karen Souter, Previous SEA President

Dr. Karen Souter, Previous SEA President 

What made you join SEA?

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Good Bedtime Reads: July 2022

OXYGEN by Carol Cassella

As we move from the short days of winter to the longer and warmer days of summer, it also seems that time has expanded and this may be the perfect time to check out some good fiction. The book is written by a physician and the plot is something to which we can all relate. The story is set in Seattle and follows the emotional roller-coaster of an anesthesiologist who loses a young ‘special needs’ patient to an intraoperative catastrophe. The author narrates in great detail the legal and emotional issues associated with the death of a patient. Dr Marie Heaton, the protagonist, who is at the top of her game as an anesthesiologist, a brilliant and caring physician, is forced to take a look at her own insecurities as a physician. Something goes terribly wrong during a routine pediatric case and forces her to re-evaluate her life, her truths, her friends, family and her world. The story gives the reader an understanding of the conflict she feels between empathizing with the mother of the patient while at the same time coming to terms with what this incident means to her career as a physician. 

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Good Bedtime Reads: December 2021

Thrive: Ariana Huffington

This year has been unlike any other! For those of us working in healthcare the stress from the job as well as keeping ourselves and our families safe has led to unprecedented levels of burnout. It also led many of us to re-examine our lives to define what is meaningful and what is not. This book by Ariana Huffington offers insights that could help us on this journey.

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President's Corner

I think we all like to believe that anesthesiology training has changed by leaps and bounds over the last decades, but truthfully the essential core of our educational paradigm remains the same – the apprenticeship model. Yes, anesthesiology residents spend time learning about quality improvement, doing research, and treating rare complications in high fidelity simulators. But add up all the hours and days of a typical anesthesiology residency and the bulk of that time will be spent with a patient and the attending guiding their care. This relationship creates an environment where the influence of the attending physician can be of outsized importance. And this is true not just with respect to the development of clinical competence but also the modeling of professionalism and communication skills.

One of my favorite people to follow on social media is an ophthalmologist/comedian, Dr. Glaucomflecken. His TikTok videos expertly poke fun at a variety of medical specialty stereotypes, and anesthesiology is no exception. While exaggerated, most stereotypes have a kernel of truth. In Glaucomflecken’s world, the shower-capped anesthesiologist frequently hides behind the blue drapes and avoids meaningful conversation with the surgical team. A recent editorial published in Anesthesiology, “The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education [ACGME] Special Report on Clinical Learners in Procedural Environments: Several Elephants in a Very Small Room,”1 sums up the not-so-funny reality: “Why are trainees communicatively inept? Because their teachers are. They are just mimicking what they see…. Anesthesiology, nursing, and surgery remain siloed communities…frighteningly so!” The potential impact of improved communication on patient safety and outcomes is regarded as self-evident. Closed loop communication, effective handoffs during transitions of care, and creating shared mental models can only serve to improve clinical care.

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From There to Here: Members Stories in the SEA

1. When and why did you join SEA?
It’s been longer than I’d care to admit. Over ten years now. I have always been interested in teaching skills to small groups or individuals, not so much in the lecturing part. A mentor of mine sent me a note informing me about the Seattle meeting in 2009 and suggested I should attend. I had been a member of SEAUK before I moved across the Atlantic to Colorado.

2. What skills do you have that you use to contribute to this organization?
Skills…hmm. I get things done. Is that a skill or a superpower?

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A Celebration of JEPM -The Members' Journal

Throughout 2022 we will be celebrating the fifth anniversary of when The Journal of Education in Perioperative Medicine (JEPM) became archived on PubMed Central (PMC). This could not have happened without the support of you, the SEA members, and we want to celebrate this landmark achievement with you the entire year. Landing on PMC was significant for the Journal in so many ways. For starters, the recognition of the Journals new status began a growth trajectory of manuscript submissions that has surpassed one hundred manuscripts in 2021. That’s up from fewer than ten in 2015! Our published articles get significant viewing. One of our most popular published articles is “How to Write Well-Defined Learning Objectives,” by SEA member Debnath Chatterjee, MD & Janet Corral, PhD. This piece has had over 32,000 total requests including more than 2,700 full-PDF downloads; it has also been cited in twelve other peer-reviewed articles including five in 2021 alone! None of this growth would have been possible without our incredibly talented and hard-working team of associate editors including Phillip S. Adams, DO; Eric Heinz, MD, PhD; Ryan Keneally, MD; Timothy Long, MD; Susan M. Martinelli, MD; Annette Mizuguchi, MD, PhD, MMSc, FASE; Deborah A. Schwengel, MD, MEHP; Jed Wolpaw, MD, MEd; & Lara Zisblatt, EdD, MA, PMME. On the administrative side, we owe a great debt of gratitude to Megan Sage, our coordinator in the SEA office, and Heather Chaney, our new Managing Editor with Allen Press.

So what can you do to join the celebration of the anniversary? First, we are always looking for talented reviewers. Giving your time and talents as a peer-reviewer is a tremendous service to the society, the Journal, and of course, our specialty. Second, you can submit your high-quality education manuscripts to the Journal. Many are published, but if not, our talented reviewers and associate editors will provide you with thoughtful feedback that you can incorporate when you resubmit elsewhere. Your education research manuscript will have been reviewed by some of the most talented minds in the business, setting them up for success down the road. Last, you can celebrate with us by attending the SEA spring and fall meetings. The Journal will be featured in a number of venues at each of our meetings including a reappearance of our “reviewing workshop”, which was so well received in the past.

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2021 Fall Meeting Summary

It was an honor to host SEA’s 2021 Fall Meeting on Advocacy in Education and Academic Departments. This meeting has taken on several different forms over the past two years and endured the challenges of the pandemic. I hope you all enjoyed and benefited from our excellent speakers and workshop presentation.

Dr. Alan Schwartz opened the meeting with the McLeskey lecture and gave us a broad overview of the Politics of Medical Education. Who are the key players? How are scarce resources managed? What are the political interest of each stake holder? How do we apply this in our everyday interactions within our residency? Dr. Schwartz is an incredibly engaging and innovated educator, and we are grateful to have had him as our keynote speaker.

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Reflections in 2020-A Look Back

As we reflect on this year, we are heartened by the verdict handed down in the George Floyd murder trial. It was a month prior to George Floyd’s death that SEA formed its Taskforce on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). Both anniversaries speak of the work that remains to be done in order to live in a society where diversity is valued, equity is commonplace, and inclusion is the norm. Since its inception, the taskforce has been very busy – a testament to the times we live in.

The Taskforce on DE&I collaborated with multiple anesthesia component societies as well as freestanding organizations. In addition, we have reached out both to anesthesiology residents at multiple programs and to medical students through the Student National Medical Association who will be applying for residency in anesthesiology.

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Support of Association of American Medical Colleges Statement

This statement is issued in response to the United States Executive Order entitled, “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,” issued on September 22, 2020.

The Society for Education in Anesthesia (SEA) is a society devoted to excellence in patient care through education. We value diversity, equity, and inclusion, and strive to promote these principles with our actions and teachings.

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President's Corner

Stephanie B. Jones, MD
SEA President

Happy summer! As we embark upon a new academic year, things are a little different than usual.  The challenge of introducing new trainees to the perioperative environment remains our perpetual summer pastime.  What has changed is the lens through which we view teaching and learning, having just emerged from the trying circumstances of the last year or so.


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A Glimpse into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the SEA–Who We Are

The degree to which individuals are underrepresented in medicine, and specifically in academic medicine, is significant and concerning. This representation gap is especially notable in leadership positions. This also holds true in the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), as evidenced by the 2017 survey conducted by Toledo et al regarding diversity in the leadership of this organization.1 Another publication in Medscape, using US Census Bureau criteria, reports the vast majority (70%) of anesthesiologists identified as White/Caucasian, followed in prevalence by Asian Indian (7%), Chinese (5%), Hispanic/Latino (4%), and Black/African American (3%).2 Women are underrepresented among anesthesiologist among all these groups, with an exception noted in the Black/African American group.2 A recent review article from Kenevan et al reports a slow increase in the representation of women in anesthesiology from 22% in 2007 to 24.8% in 2013. However, this still lags behind the general medical workforce, comprising 38% women.3


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Good Bedtime Reads-When Breath Becomes Air

Viji Kurup MD
Vice Chair for Medical Education
Yale University 

When Breath Becomes Air: Paul Kalanithi

I came upon Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air through a community read program organized by Yale University. The title intrigued me, and I picked up the book. I was stunned by the sheer honesty and raw emotion that the author poured into this book. Kalanithi’s reflection on death and dying and his re-evaluation of life resonated in this year of the pandemic when we have done the same.

Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon who trained at 
Yale and Stanford. In the last year of neurosurgical residency, he was forced to confront a devastating diagnosis of lung cancer. Through his writing, we accompany him on that journey as we see through his eyes and bear witness to his inner turmoil when the doctor becomes a patient. In a culture that talks about death and dying in hushed tones, Kalanithi’s willingness to let the reader into his life and his mind is a gift that must be received with gravity. It highlights to the readers both the mortality of the subject as well as the immortality of his work.

The struggle that the author experiences when moving between the roles of doctor and patient is relatable. His story is similar to countless other medical professionals who ignore small signs and symptoms and chalk it up to fatigue. We put off medical visits for when we have more time. It was only when he could ignore his symptoms no longer that he went to seek medical help and found himself in a position that he had not expected. He moves between the point of views of the patient and doctor fluidly taking the reader with him. He talks about dealing with loss of control of your life when faced with the devastating diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer. He also uses his illness to bridge his love for medicine and literature to describe his journey until the last phases where the book ends abruptly when his condition takes a turn for the worse.

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Notice of 2021 Spring Business Meeting

The SEA Spring Annual Business Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 4:50pm (Eastern) during the SEA Spring Meeting to be held via Zoom Webinar.

Items on the agenda include:

My First SEA Meeting

I cannot remember where my first Society for Education in Anesthesia meeting was held or how I got there. It must have been in 1998 or 1999. I do vividly remember coming down to breakfast at about 7:30 that first 
Michael Sandison, MD
Professor Emeritus 
Albany Medical College 
 morning and walking into animated committee meetings already in progress. I noticed one particularly large group brainstorming about upcoming meetings. I sat at an adjacent empty table and listened to the conversation. They were talking about themes for future meetings, possible speakers, interesting workshops and potential venues. I was struck by their enthusiasm, creativity and belief in the organization’s relevance and future. I had found “my people”.

Those people turned out to include Kathy King and Cathy Kuhn from Duke. At that time the Residency Review Committee had mandated that the departmental chair serve also as Program Director. Many chairs designated a faculty member as “Director of Education” or some such title. I had just been appointed to this “Quasi-PD” position by my outgoing chair at Albany Medical College. My predecessor, Kevin Roberts, had been appointed Acting Chair of the department. As he handed me a SEA newsletter, he offered me two words of advice for the new role: “Join SEA.”

I was woefully unprepared for this new position. Although I was regarded as a decent teacher by the residents and faculty, my approach to teaching was based simply on emulating my best teachers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. That first SEA meeting opened my eyes to the discipline of pedagogy and the possibility of a career in anesthesiology education. I returned home after that meeting recharged with a sense of direction, possibility and purpose.

Several meetings followed. I started making notes entitled: “Ideas from SEA”. The oldest list that I found was from the Spring Meeting of 2000, and it included a talk by Phil Lui entitled “Characteristics of Extraordinary Anesthesiologists: Implications for Anesthesia Education”. I later adapted that talk for inclusion in our introductory didactic program. Other entries in my notes include, “Look up the full Bloom’s Taxonomy”, (testimony to my lack of preparation as an educator) and “Writing is Thinking”.

That meeting led to my attending the SEA Workshop on Teaching, where I encountered people like Gary Loyd, Melissa Davidson, and Mike Olympio. This workshop laid the foundation for my ongoing education and professional development.

Over the next twenty years, SEA spring and fall meetings followed in places like Cleveland; Montreal; Harrisburg; Washington, DC; Nashville, and Santa Fe; with some of the best meetings being held in smaller cities, which I would never have thought to visit. “Dine Arounds” hosted by local SEA members gave me an insider’s perspective and a better appreciation of this vast and varied country. Friendships and collaborations followed. These relationships blossomed into mentorships and provided opportunities both to support and to be supported by others in the Society.

SEA has been central to the development of my professional career as an anesthesiology educator. I am grateful that I took Kevin’s advice to attend that first meeting.

Good Bedtime Reads - Tribal Leadership


This is our first Book Reviews podcast for the SEA Good Bedtime reads. My name is Viji Kurup and I am an 
Viji Kurup MD
Vice Chair for Medical Education
Yale University 
anesthesiologist at Yale University. The book I am reviewing for this edition of our newsletter is Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fishcher-Wright.

When COVID hit our hospital, things changed drastically. We were working in unfamiliar territories. There was a lot of uncertainty and things were evolving quickly. The morale of my colleagues as well as my residents was dropping, and during one of my late night calls, I got talking with my call team and one of my residents mentioned a book named Tribal Leadership and how it described groups and cultures. This conversation sparked my interest and I read the book over the next few weeks. I also recommend the TED Talk by Dave Logan to get a sneak peak at his philosophy.

The author Dave Logan specializes in strategy and cultural performance and is a faculty member at USC’s Marshall school of business. He describes tribes within organizations that have distinctive identifiers. The book is meant to help leaders identify tribes of people within their organization and gives tools to upgrade their tribes’ culture stage by stage. The authors comment that this book is a result of research over 10 years across 24,000 people. 

The premise of the book is that it is possible to create high performing organizations if we pay attention to the culture of the people. In most organizations, cultures can be divided into 5 stages:

Stage 1 where the motto is ‘Life sucks’, where members feel that everything is futile and worthless. People are hostile and think that they need to band together to get ahead in a violent and unfair world. We may not see a lot of this except in individuals and even then, hopefully very rarely.

Stage 2 motto is ‘My life sucks’ where members feel that although things around them are good, they may not be having a share of it. We can see examples of these when we listen to people complain in our workrooms of how bad their lives are. People are passively antagonistic. They have seen it all before and watched it fail. They are sarcastic and resigned. 

Stage 3 motto is ‘I am great’ and by implication ‘You are not’ and is most commonly seen in academics where people individually achieve heights that the rest of the group may not reach. Here people are driven by their own ego to publish, get more titles and power within the organization. Here, winning is personal and they seem to be constantly disappointed that others don’t have their ambition or skill.

Stage 4 motto is ‘We are great’ where leaders inspire their groups to achieve unique outcomes and results. In this stage people naturally use ‘We’ when describing results rather than ‘I’. Team accomplishments are celebrated.  Everyone seems happy, inspired and genuine. Here the team comes together despite differences to work towards a common goal. 

Stage 5 is called ‘Life is great’ where the members work together towards aspirational goals and collaborate and communicate seamlessly. The group talks about infinite potential and how the group is going to make history because doing so will make a global impact. The group is constantly pushing the limits and is not in competition with anyone. 

The authors stress the importance of tribal culture and triadic relationships as opposed to dyadic ones, which seem to be important to form effective and stable relationships. The authors illustrate these stages and their relation to each other with very effective use of stories and examples from real life. For anyone who is looking to create effective teams and is currently in leadership or aspiring to be a leader, this book is a very good and easy read. 

After reading the book I could look around me and classify behaviors of people and see which stage they are currently in and what might be driving them, and what might inspire them to go to the next level. This book can add to your understanding of teams and provide some ideas on how to motivate your team and how collectively we can all achieve great things. I hope you enjoy this book.