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Candidates for Board of Directors

The following candidates will be running for open positions on the Society for Education in Anesthesia Board of Directors:

Click on name to expand for bio and photo

Melissa L. Davidson, MD – Director

Thank you for allowing me to express my desire to be elected to a second term on the Board of Directors of the Society for Education in Anesthesia. Of all my various professional activities and society memberships throughout the years, SEA has been without a doubt the most important. I attended my first SEA meeting in 1996, in the middle of the worst identity crisis our specialty has faced. That year only 143 medical students across the country matched into Anesthesiology. It was a tough time to be in practice, let alone be an academic anesthesiologist. So when I arrived at that SEA meeting I found an incredibly enthusiastic group of faculty who shared my passion for teaching despite the hard times. I met the best of the best anesthesia educators who became (and remain) my mentors, colleagues and friends. Leaders were not just “the sage on the stage”, but genuinely good hearted people who made a point to spend time with us. It was a defining moment in my life. Anesthesia education had been my purpose, but the mission of SEA became my passion. I was honored to be asked to co-direct the SEA Workshop on Teaching with Steve Kimatian in 2006. We continually work to update the curriculum to meet the needs of our learners. My greatest joy has been meeting the nearly 400 faculty from across the country who have attended this workshop over the past 13 years. And somehow, without noticing the passage of time, I have become a senior member of SEA and am now witnessing with great pride many former students, residents and young faculty become rising stars. I have been privileged to participate in SEA meetings through workshop presentations, panel discussions, and abstract submissions, as well as serving on committees such as Competencies, Milestones, and Research. I have witnessed significant growth over the years as our mission has broadened, not just with increased emphasis on education with ACGME initiatives, but also through faculty development, educational research, and curriculum innovation.

Various leadership positions throughout my career, including Medical Student Director, Program Director, Interim Chair of the department, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, and Associate Editor of MedEdPORTAL, has given me a 360-degree perspective of anesthesia education. I believe these experiences allow me as a board member to appreciate many viewpoints as decisions are made for the benefit of our members and for advancement of SEA’s mission. Serving departments with small residencies allows me to understand challenges being faced by smaller programs, such as limited research funding and mentoring opportunities. My specific goal as a board member is responding to and advocating for the needs of small to medium sized programs. My philosophy has always been to do whatever needs to be done to help students, residents, colleagues and programs succeed. Or in the words of Bob Willenkin, to do “whatever it takes to get learners to learn.” It would be an honor to continue serving the society in this capacity.

Carol Ann B. Diachun, MD, MSEd – Director

This is my 15th year as a member of this amazing Society. Over the years, I have enjoyed sharing my passion for education. I cannot imagine my own career as an educator without SEA. This Society has provided me with the tools for teaching and evaluating my residents as well as numerous opportunities for my own professional development. Through SEA I have developed a network of colleagues, mentors and good friends.

Since 2004 I have contributed numerous workshops and posters at SEA. I have also been actively involved in committee work. With the Committee on Faculty Development, I helped organize the initial Educator’s Portal for the SEA website and was one of the original Peer Teaching Coaches for our Society. I have continued to actively provide feedback to workshop presenters in this role. This work has supported SEA’s valuable work supporting our community of educators.

Since 2012 I have also served as Chair and Chair-designee of the Educational Meetings Committee. During this time, we have had many highly successful and innovative meetings. We created a peer-review process for the meeting workshop submissions process improving quality; we incorporated the AAMC MERC workshops in 2012 and 2014; we designed a huge collaborative effort with the Milestones workshops in 2013 when the Society had no management company to assist and we shared ideas with our surgical colleagues in the first-ever combined meeting with the Association of Surgical Educators in 2015 in Seattle. This fall we will hold our first meeting in association with the SAAAPM meeting reaching even more educators. These all reflect my inherent belief in innovation and collaboration. With hard work and the willingness to try, together we can accomplish so many things.

As a member of the SEA Board of Directors, I have focused on improving quality and value for our members. We have incorporated more time for networking and collaborating during our meetings. We have continued to support educational research with inclusion of both posters and oral presentations of curricula and research projects. New this past spring we included research teasers to introduce all the amazing work of our members and encourage more visits to our posters. The institution of the Philip Liu awards has raised the prominence of our members’ work. The SEA’d grant is providing support for the budding education researcher. I am presently working to improve our meeting evaluations to be easier to complete and to provide more meaningful feedback. Most importantly, I desire to give back to other members in the same way I have been mentored and supported by our community. I would be honored to continue as a member of the Board and to serve the members of SEA for another term.

Herodotos Ellinas, MD, FAAP/FACP – Director

Great teachers shape our lives, and we remember and value their contribution. Whenever I go back to my home country, I visit three of my high school teachers-Chemistry, English and Math-all of whom played a pivotal role in shaping my career in education. They instilled in me the curiosity to seek new ideas and the determination to implement them. Since arriving in the US in 1984, teaching roles in medical school and in the clinical setting as faculty have provided me with opportunities to observe, create and assess curricula.

In 2007 I attended my first SEA educational meeting, and was intrigued by SEA’s mission to foster collaboration and promote education and teaching innovation; I envisioned those things as part of my career as well. I was given the opportunity to lead the chief residents’ workshop for four years and in 2019 to chair the society’s spring meeting in Denver. 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 these educational activities to further shape teachers’ abilities to teach.

My enrollment in University of Michigan’s master’s program for health professions education (MHPE) has also given me insight and tools to promote such endeavors to all who are interested in teaching.

Why pursue this role? In today’s world of an academic anesthesiologist challenges include life work balance, time/money allotted to education, faculty recruitment and research. My unique background that includes 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 mid-21st century, equips me with a lens to think outside the box to provide solutions for such challenges. I view this as a new opportunity in my continual quest for knowledge and personal growth, as well as leadership and management development. I believe that I have the skill set, background, and personality to successfully meet this fresh pursuit.

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 disseminate them nationwide. We need to promote integration of allied health professionals in the operating room, create virtual learning communities, and have wellness be the driver of all educational designs. As a member of the BOD I will seek to continue to have a needs-driven focus on SEA investments to ensure the value of SEA membership as a cornerstone of professional development.

Deborah A. Schwengel, MD, MEd – Director

It is with ongoing enthusiasm that I submit to you my candidacy for a renewed Board of Directors position. Looking back on my 2 years as a Board member and more than 12 years as a SEA member, I continue to believe that SEA is a society that is necessary for anesthesia educators. I believe there are many anesthesiology educators who would thrive with us and need to know about SEA. We need to be sharing our enthusiasm for the society with our colleagues across the country. Academic medical centers typically do not adequately address the needs of educators. I want to help others succeed as educators in anesthesiology. My background includes leadership experience in medical education in my home institution, Johns Hopkins, and at SEA. I have been clerkship director, associate program director, pediatric fellowship director and residency program director. I have completed a Master of Education in the Health Professions; have been actively involved in health professions innovations, program building, and educational research. I now serve as Director of Educational Research in our Department. I was SEA Spring meeting Chair in 2016 in Baltimore and am an active member of the Research Committee and JEPM Associate Editor. I have also served on the Meetings Committee and regularly review workshop and abstract submissions for meeting. I was also a task force member for the establishment of the new ASA-SEA distinguished educator award.

My statements from my original candidacy two years ago are still relevant today. I enjoy working in a collaborative environment and wish to bring my talents to an already talented Board. I believe we should be creative and open-minded about the possibilities for SEA. I am interested in exploring new endeavors and new ways of conducting our meetings to attract more members and to make our meetings and sessions more valuable to members and guests. I believe we need to entertain new technologies, more mentorship and ongoing community building. As a society we should aggressively help each other flourish as educators and prepare for promotions especially given the challenges that many educators face in pursuing academic advancement at some institutions. I see the following as priorities:

  1. Build the SEA community: aggressively infect others – we are working on this using an outreach program, providing education workshops at subspecialty societies. So far we will be teaching curriculum development at the September 2019 SNACC meeting and have submitted workshops for the combined SEA/SAAAPM meeting and the spring 2020 SPA meeting.
  2. More professional development related to program development, curriculum development, educational research, educational leadership and sustainability in the modern medical workplace. The outreach initiated also addresses this priority.
  3. Adjust our meetings to reflect best practices in teaching and use of innovative techniques.
  4. Maintain networking and community building at SEA meetings that continue between meetings.
  5. Create bulletin board of presentations for people working on promotion – help each other to achieve promotion as educators, invite each other to give talks at home institutions. The new ASA-SEA distinguished educator award partially addresses this priority.

Tracey Straker, MD, MS, MPH, CBA, FASA – Director

I became involved in SEA twelve years ago because I was not receiving the mentorship I needed to advance my career academically from my department. A dear friend, Gail Randel, invite me to SEA and the Faculty Development Committee. I have not missed a SEA meeting since then. The foundation and the relationships that I have built at SEA have led to Division Director of General Anesthesia, a unit of 40 anesthesiologists, leadership positions on multiple national organizations including: Speaker of the House of the New York State Society for Anesthesiologists, President Elect of the Society for Head and Neck Anesthesia, Committee Chair for Trainee in the Society for Airway Management, Director of the ASA Mentoring Grant, Committee on Professional Affairs, Committee on PBLD, Sub Committee on Fundamentals of Anesthesia at the ASA, and multiple service positions in advocacy to anesthesiology on the regional and national levels. I recently have received the Chrysalis Award for Excellence in Research and education in Anesthesiology.

I am presently the Co-Chair of the Faculty Development Committee for the past four years and have given and participated in numerous SEA workshops. I am active as a Peer Coach and have implemented Practical Tips for Promotion. I have edited a textbook General Anesthesiology – A Problem Based Approach and am the fellowship director for a Combined Advanced Airway/ENT fellowship.

My dedication to SEA is to give back to its membership what SEA has done for me. My service to SEA may take on multiple roles, but at this time, I ask for your support in my candidacy for election to the Board of Directors.

I graduated from a 7year BS/MD program, the Sophie Davis School of Medicine, and received my MD from New York Medical College. Simultaneously, I received and MPH in Medical Administration. In 2017, I received my Master of Science from Georgetown in Health Information Technology, and in 2018 I received my CBA in Business Administration from Northwestern.

Simply put, my goal is to advance the mission and vision of SEA in any capacity that I can.

Thank you.

David A. Young, MD, MEd, MBA, FAAP, FASA – Director

My name is David Young and I am running for a position on the SEA Board of Directors. Since 2005, I strongly feel that SEA has significantly and positively shaped my career in medical education. As a result, I feel a passionate obligation to pay it forward to the entire SEA membership. I feel that the best way to achieve this would be by applying my experiences and enthusiasm at the Board level to make the largest impact to the SEA membership.

I have been a faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine since 2002. I am currently a Professor of Anesthesiology and I practice clinically as a pediatric anesthesiologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas. My main Departmental roles include being the Vice-Chair of Simulation Medicine, Director for the Pediatric Anesthesiology MOCA simulation course, and the Director of Pediatric Anesthesiology Simulation. At the College level, my main roles include being Co-Chair of the Medical School Admissions Committee, the Chair of the Academy of Distinguished Educators, and being the Vice-Chair of the Faculty Senate Education Committee.

I started my journey within SEA by first attending the Workshop on Teaching in 2006. After quickly realizing this society is a perfect fit for me, I’ve progressively expanded my involvement. I started the SEA Peer Coaching Program in 2008 and remain the current Chair. Since 2013, I am the Co-Chair of the Faculty Development Committee. I was the Co-Chair of the 2011 Spring Meeting in San Antonio. Since 2011, I have been a member of the CME Planning Committee and from 2007-2010 was a member of the Educational Meetings and Faculty Development Committees. Finally, I’ve facilitated 14 workshops at SEA meetings on a variety of topics.

I envision my function on the Board having 2 roles. First, supporting established SEA activities and agenda items that result in short-term improvements and expansions for the SEA membership. My other role would be to brainstorm novel ideas to overall improve the future experience and value of the organization. For example, creation of an SEA “Academy of Scholars” to recognize experts in medical education. This Academy would function mostly to mentor and advise other medical educators within the membership in terms of professional development and promotion. Another novel project would be the development of SEA-endorsed teaching certificates. These certificates would perhaps be at different levels [i.e. basic, advanced] and awarded after completing a specific amount of previously approved, high-quality activities.

Thank you in advance for considering my application!



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