2023 | Spring Issue

President’s Message: Addressing Sexual Harassment in Academic Anesthesiology
by George A. Mashour, MD, PhD

In July 2022, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) published the report “Understanding and Addressing Sexual Harassment in Academic Medicine.” The focus was on academic physicians and the data were based on the AAMC StandPoint™ Faculty Engagement Survey, administered from 2019-2021. There were responses from 13,239 full- and part-time faculty members across 22 U.S. medical schools. The focus of the report was gender-based harassment, which can be defined as “verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey hostility, objectification, exclusion, or second-class status about members of one gender,” and which is a common form of sexual harassment.

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EAB Report
by Susie Martinelli, MD

I hope you are all looking forward to the Annual Meeting in Denver, our first in-person meeting since 2019! We are excited about the planned program which includes two sessions hosted by the EAB. On Thursday morning, Drs. John Mitchell and Heather Ballard will be discussing innovative uses of deliberate practice for skill acquisition. Drs. Richard Blum and Dan Saddawi-Konefka will present a thought-provoking session on reflective practice Friday morning.  Please also stop by the Lunch Award Session on Thursday, where we will be presenting this year’s EAB Education Innovation Award.

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SAB Report
by C. David Mintz, MD, PhD

The AUA Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is continuing its work to clearly define and enunciate its mission statement and strategic goals, which are broadly oriented around building and sustaining academic research in the field of Anesthesiology. Ongoing projects include the AUA Speaker Exchange, which is focused on connecting junior faculty with speaking venues including grand rounds, divisional conferences, and research seminars. The goal of this program is to help faculty who are building research careers to make their work known, network with colleagues in their field of interest, and hone their presentation skills. The exchange primarily facilitates virtual speaking opportunities which are easier for junior faculty to engage in, but also has arranged several in-person lectures.  Over 20 engagements have been completed or are in process, and future plans include streamlining the matching process, including venues outside of the United States, and a new publicity campaign to recruit speakers and venues.

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Learning from Setbacks: A New Series
by Maya Jalbout Hastie, MD, EdD and G. Burkhard Mackensen, MD, PhD, FASE, FSCAI

The career development of academic anesthesiologists requires a lifelong commitment to acquiring new skills, improving problem-solving abilities, and pursuing professionalism. Eager for growth and validation, physicians frequently invest in professional development activities to build these skill sets. However, most of our learning in the workplace, through transmission of knowledge or creation of new knowledge, occurs on-the-job and through trial and error. The learning can be either intentional or incidental and can result in explicit or implicit knowledge.1,2 In addition, dealing with defeat and failure is essential to developing our self-awareness, our humility, and our ability to learn from our own doings.3

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Like a Phoenix: Rising from Professional Setbacks (or Rejection)
by Lisa Q. Rong, MD, MSCE, FASE, FACC

As a disclaimer, this the first non-academic piece that I have written. Academic writing is dry and formulaic, where every word is counted and given a purpose. After several years traveling down a physician-scientist pathway, I have greatly improved my ability to write according to those rules. While I was nervous about this piece, the amount of material I have for the topic itself—professional setbacks—is overflowing.

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AUA Mentoring Program
by George A. Mashour, MD, PhD

I still remember the day I met my Ph.D. mentor, despite the fact that it was almost 30 years ago in the summer of 1993. He was (and still is) a neurosurgeon and neurogeneticist who co-discovered the mutation causing neurofibromatosis type 2 and he also developed the first oncolytic viral therapy for brain tumors. Because of his many impressive accomplishments, I was surprised by how personable and down-to-earth he was during that first meeting. While a graduate student, I marveled at his ability to be in the operating room performing surgery on one day and in the laboratory discussing molecular biology the next. He became my blueprint for a physician-scientist… and his influence on me is incalculable. 

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Why I Chose to Become an AUA Mentor: David Drover
by David Drover, MD

Many AUA members share their successes in the form of publications, lectures, and grants attained. What many successful physicians and scientists take to their retirement (or grave) are the secrets of how they attained their success. Helping the next generation through facilitation, mentoring, or coaching will greatly help the next wave of AUA members attain their goals.

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Why I Chose to Become an AUA Mentor: Nabil Elkassabany
by Nabil Elkassabany, MD, MSCE, MBA

“We Pay it Forward”: A Personal Account on Mentorship in Academic Anesthesiology

Mentorship plays a crucial role in academic medicine. Many mentors find helping others to be one of the most meaningful contributions they make in their careers. While a mentor serves as a support and anchor to individuals, the impact of the mentor-mentee relationship is multiplied, often many times over.

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Why I Chose to Become an AUA Mentor: Elizabeth A. M. Frost
by Elizabeth A. M. Frost, MD

In the 1960s, I did not have a mentor, rather women were tolerated until they had children and, hopefully, dropped out. I had four sons and stayed with it despite the loss of my husband at an early age. Some senior leaders took pity on me and occasionally cast me a bone, such as backing my membership in the AUA. I am extremely grateful for men like Drs. Hershey, Orkin, Artusio, and Goldiner.

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Why I Chose to Become an AUA Mentor: Harish Ramakrishna
by Harish Ramakrishna, MD, FACC, FESC, FASE

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”– Isaac Newton wrote to fellow scientist Robert Hooke in 1675 and these immortal words have come to universally symbolize the fact that creativity, innovation, knowledge, and scientific progress do not exist in a vacuum. To me they are even more inspiring because they depict a profound sense of humility from arguably the most influential scientist of all time. The essence of mentoring and mentorship, in my opinion, is not far off from this metaphor. Those of us who are mentors did indeed stand on the shoulders of giants, in some form or other and it is our duty to “pay it forward”.

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The Hidden Struggle: Uncovering Barriers to Mental Health Care for Physicians
by Daniel Saddawi-Konefka, MD, MBA

The incidence of mental health symptoms is alarmingly high amongst physicians (1). Pre-pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety were upwards of 30% (2), and post-traumatic stress disorder affects approximately 10% of physicians. Data suggests that these rates are on the rise. Meta-analysis suggests that rates of depression amongst physicians increased over the last few decades to the tune of 0.5% per year (3). Sadly, the consequences of this are profound. Physicians complete suicide at a rate 1.44 times higher than non-physicians (4), with anesthesiologists at statistically higher risk than other physicians. The reasons for this are incompletely understood but may be due to higher rates of psychological distress, access to more lethal means, or larger barriers to care access.

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Negotiations for Academics
by Jeffrey S. Berger, MD, MBA

As you exit the office, you can’t help but to ponder your recently completed conversation with your Chair; as you amble down the hallway in an apparent fog, replaying the conversation over and over again in your head, you become convinced that your position was not well received, and that your request would be denied by virtue of being ill-favored. By the time you arrive home that evening to share the details of today’s meeting with your partner, you are already starting to feel a bit nauseated about the likely result of this negotiation.

As a clinician, an educator, or a researcher, negotiations are often crucial to obtaining the resources necessary to be successful as an academic physician. Yet, in the 15 years that I have been teaching academic healthcare professionals about negotiation theory, most claim to be inadequately trained and generally averse to the practice of negotiation.

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