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President's Corner: Where Indeed? Tree Hugging?

Monday, December 19, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Michael Sandison, MD
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In this, my first President’s Corner article, I would like to try and answer the question that Past President Steve Kimatian posed in the September issue of the Newsletter. He asked, “Where to from here?”, and he outlined the progress that the society has made over the past year. This included the landmark achievements of our endowed Starter Grant in Education (The SEAd Grant) and the inclusion of our Journal of Education in Perioperative Medicine (JEPM) in the PubMed Central database.

I am also very pleased to report the establishment of the Philip Liu Awards for Innovations in Anesthesia Education, graciously endowed by the Liu family, which was represented at our Fall Meeting by his widow, Dr. Letty Liu. Dr. Philip L. Liu was the founding president of the SEA, and he was dedicated to the society becoming a force for innovation in anesthesiology education. Dr. Liu spent most of his academic career in the Harvard system at the Massachusetts General and Peter Brigham Hospitals. He later served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He was the first recipient of the SEA / Duke Award for Excellence and Innovation in Anesthesia Education (1997). Fittingly, the Liu family has established two annual Innovation in Education awards as a tribute to his life and contribution to our Society: One is for Innovation in Curriculum, and the other is for Innovation in Education Research. The inaugural awards will be awarded at the 2017 SEA Spring Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida. Each $1000 award recipient will be selected from the abstracts submitted to the Research committee and presented at the Spring meeting.

So where to from here? In order to set the course for the next two years, the Board of Directors and several Committee Chairs met on the Friday evening after the Fall Meeting in Chicago to update our strategic plan. The group reviewed the strategic plan that we had crafted in the Spring of 2015, and affirmed the following framework for moving ahead:

Our Vision: Excellence in patient care through education.

Our Mission: To Support, Enrich, and Advance anesthesia education and those who teach.

Our Values: Collaboration, Innovation, Scholarship, an Inclusive Community of Educators.

The group considered short term and long term goals in four categories:

  • The Personal, Professional and Career Development of Our Members
  • Collaboration with Members and Other Societies & Organizations
  • Educational Research & Scholarship
  • Innovation in Educational Methods

A number of ideas were presented, and the lively discussion is being continued by the Board and Committee Chairs, to forge specific objectives for final approval by the Board of Directors. In the spirit of inclusion, please communicate any ideas that you may have to the appropriate committee or Board member. We have already incorporated some changes into the program for the Spring Meeting 2017, specifically the extension of networking time, and fostering relationships for collaboration in curriculum development, educational research, faculty development, and mentoring.

SEA members have been called the “tree huggers of the anesthesiology world”. I take this characterization as a compliment, and we should wear this badge proudly as we seek to conserve the educational mission of our departments. We are the people committed to find ways to improve anesthesia teaching and education, and to develop the careers of our members, faculty colleagues, residents, and medical students. As we face a future of value-based models of payment, we need to embrace these challenges as we train our residents in perioperative care. This is better done as a group of like-minded idealists, rather than as individuals struggling on our own. Let’s join hands and hug a couple of curricula!

I look forward to seeing you all in Jacksonville in the Spring!


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