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President's Corner

Tuesday, January 28, 2020  
Posted by: Karen J. Souter, MB, BS, FRCA, MACM
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2019 - A Year of Change and Collaboration

Karen J. Souter, MB, BS, FRCA, MACM

SEA President

It is through change that we as individual professionals and as a professional society trade something that feels comfortable for something with the potential for being better. At times, it can be hard to let go and accept the new. The Bridges’ Transition Model of Change1 focuses on the internal process of transition we experience as external change happens. The SEA implemented important changes this year with the focus always being on our members, the impact these changes might have and how to support and sustain people during the change.

The most significant change...
was the timing and location of the Fall Meeting, which moved away from our traditional Friday before the ASA meeting to the day before the Society of Academic Associations of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine (SAAAPM) meeting. The rationale for this change was to make our meeting more available to program directors, the rapidly growing cadre of fellowship program directors, program coordinators and chairs, all of whom gather in Chicago shortly after the ASA meeting. We hoped that by showcasing our society at this convenient venue, we would both increase membership amongst our academic leaders and demonstrate the support the SEA offers to early and mid-career clinician educator faculty.

The downside of this move could have been the impact on the large proportion of SEA members who are front-line clinician educators and don’t normally attend the SAAAPM meeting. As the SEA Board debated changing the date of the fall meeting, we considered the impact this transition would have on all our members. Would non-SAAAPM SEA member want to travel to Chicago for a one-day meeting? Would we risk losing some of our loyal and longstanding members with this change? A needs assessment survey was equivocal, and after a close vote the Board decided to move the Fall Meeting to the day before SAAAPM for one year only. The board believed that success depended on a well-organized meeting with valuable content, relevant to our target audience.

Fortunately, with Dr. Kristin Ondecko Ligda and Dr. Phillip Adams at the helm that is exactly what we got! The 2019 Fall Meeting, which explored the Integration of Technology into Anesthesia Practice & Education, was a great success.  The keynote speakers, Dr. Marjorie Stiegler and Dr. Edward Mariano, provided engaging talks that brimmed with information about digital technology, new ways of interacting, and how to apply this technology in the academic education world. The panels, snap talks and workshops were all fast paced with valuable content. Happily, the 2019 Fall Meeting broke all records for attendance and encouragingly, many of our members not attending SAAPM were able still able to come because they weren’t competing with the rest of their Department for time off to go to the ASA. Next year SEA is back with the ASA in Washington, D.C. on Friday October 2, 2020. The following year, in 2021, we will likely re-create the success of 2019 and be back in Chicago to coincide with SAAAPM.

Another important change for the SEA in 2019 was the transition of our flagship publication, the Journal of Education in Perioperative Medicine (JEPM), to a more comprehensive editorial management platform. The JEPM first appeared in 1999 and is published quarterly as an online, open access, PubMed-indexed journal. Under the joint leadership of Co-Editors-in-Chief Dr. David Broussard and Dr. Jeffrey Berger the journal has gone from strength to strength as the number and quality of educational research articles submitted continues to grow. Nine associate editors provide in-depth and timely review of manuscripts. Once again, the transition process was carried out thoughtfully, as board members considered various outcomes and strategies. The Editors-in-Chief commissioned a consultant with significant experience and knowledge of managing medical educational journals and received a detailed report presenting a number of options. Consequently, the SEA Board recently voted to increase financial support to JEPM so it can move to a more comprehensive editorial management platform. This transition will result in a higher level of support for the editors and sustain this excellent resource for SEA members to publish their manuscripts and stay up-to-date with the rapidly expanding field of educational research.

2019 also saw the SEA operationalize a number of collaborations conceptualized last year at the Board of Director’s biannual strategic planning meeting. Under the leadership Dr. Stephanie Jones (SEA president elect) and Dr. David Martin (ASA), a small group from SEA (Dr. Deb Schwengel, Dr. David Young, and Dr. Sam Yanofsky) worked on developing the ASA-SEA Distinguished Educator award2. This award is in a self-nomination format accessible to mid-career anesthesiology educators and serves as a way of recognizing the significant contributions these individuals make to our specialty. It was gratifying to see a long list of SEA members receiving their inaugural ASA/SEA Distinguished Educator awards this past October!

SEA also collaborated with the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care (SNACC) to develop a joint workshop on curriculum development. In September Dr. Shobana Rajan (our SNACC liaison and SEA member), Dr. Jane Easdown (SEA/SNACC), Dr. Deb Schwengel (SEA) and I presented this workshop at the annual SNACC meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. The joint SEA/SNACC session was scheduled as one of SNACC pre-meeting workshops; it was well attended and very well received. This was the first of what I hope will be many such collaborations between SEA and other subspecialty societies. Dr. Deb Schwengel chairs our new taskforce dedicated to collaborations with other subspecialty societies and is interested to hear from SEA members who are part of other groups or societies and would like to work on a combined workshops or presentations.

As we move into a new decade I am excited to anticipate the continued growth of our society. We all know that change is inevitable, and as our group embraces change and collaboration I know we will manage transitions with continued attention to supporting and strengthening our members. We will always make sure what we do serves the very people who contribute so much to this organization and make its existence possible!

I look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia at the Loews Hotel for our 2020 Spring Meeting “Defining the Path to Workforce Readiness” Friday, May 8 – Sunday, May 10, 2020.

1.Bridges W. Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change. Nicholas Brealey Publishing (2017) Accessed 1/1/20

2. ASA / SEA Distinguished Educator Award. Accessed 1/1/20


The SEA is proud to be a member-driven organization, dedicated to the teaching and development of future anesthesiologists, and to the advancement of those who educate them.

Contact Info:

Society for Education in Anesthesia
6737 W. Washington St, Suite 4210 • Milwaukee, WI 53214 • (414) 389-8614