Annually, in celebration of the first demonstration of ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846 by William T. G. Morton at Massachusetts General Hospital, anesthesiologists from around the world gather at the American Society of Anesthesiologists' meeting. This year, over 14,000 attendees descended upon San Francisco on October 13, 2018 to teach, learn, discuss and network. Currently, I serve as one of the Co-Chairs for the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists' Committee on Resident and Fellow Affairs (MSA CORFA), which appoints the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Resident Delegation for Massachusetts. Luckily, I was able to organize my call schedule to attend the meeting for the weekend of October 13-14.
Prior to delving into conference activities, I attended the Women in Anesthesiology (WIA) meeting and had the opportunity to meet some familiar Twitter faces in real life, including Dr. Amy Pearson and Dr. Harriet Hopf. I made new friends, purchased some swag to represent the organization, and had an opportunity to share about our work planning the Medical Women's International Association Centennial Congress hosted by the American Medical Women's Association. We heard from Dr. Valerie Armstead on feminism and her recommendations for required reading on the subject, including: Half the Sky, Women, Culture and Politics, Lean In, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Feminist Fight Club, and We Should All Be Feminists. Her call to action charged the group to support other women, encourage female first policies, welcome men feminists, ask for help and lift up younger generations. We wrapped up the WIA meeting feeling invigorated and ready to take on the world.
The rest of the weekend's events were held at the Moscone Center. Prior to the opening session, I dropped into a discussion between Drs. Avery Tung and Mark Nunnally debating the pros and cons of the 24-7 coverage versus night float coverage models in intensive care units. Since I will be starting my Critical Care fellowship in less than a year, I was curious about the different staffing models and their respective advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, I concluded that the best model depends on the size, acuity and general culture of the institution. At the conclusion of the talk, the Moscone West building was evacuated and hundreds of us headed over to the next building for the Opening Session.
We kicked off the opening session with a review of the year from our outgoing president, Dr. Jim Grant. Since I was a graduate of the inaugural class of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, I worked with Dr. Grant prior to his ASA presidency, and was glad that in this role, he was representing the metro-Detroit area and my alma mater. The keynote speaker, Josh Linker, was a Detroit-native and taught us about the 5 core mindsets of innovators: 1.) Every barrier can be penetrated, 2.) Video killed the radio star, 3.) Change the rules to get the jewels, 4.) Seeking the unexpected, 5.) Fall seven times, stand eight. He used real-world innovations as examples for each core mindset and kept the audience engaged throughout the talk. One example that really stood out to me was the Troy Book Burning campaign that ultimately saved the library from closing. After the talk, many of us had to ask ourselves, how can we apply these principles to the field of anesthesiology and medicine as a whole?
Invigorated, I went to the New England caucus meeting where we discussed pertinent topics up for vote at the ASA House of Delegates. Following this meeting, I went to a hall filled with eager medical students and residency program representatives for the annual meet and greet. The event conjured up memories of when I was the eager 4th year medical student applying to anesthesiology 4 years ago; as a result, each year I attend the ASA, I make a point to attend this event to try to help guide current medical students through the anxiety-provoking process of applying to residency.
I wrapped up my busy Saturday evening with a dinner hosted by our department Chair, Dr. Jeanine Wiener-Kronish.
Bright and early Sunday morning, I headed over to the Medically Challenging Cases to support my co-residents during their presentations. Following this, I also attended part of the ASA House of Delegates prior to heading over to the Resident Component House of Delegates (RC HOD). During the RC HOD, we elected a new governing council and discussed pertinent proposals. Following the RC HOD, I grabbed a quick bite then started my journey to SFO to return back to Boston.
One aspect of the meeting that really stood out to me was the Twitter engagement. I was a Social Media Ambassador alongside some high-level experts - Dr. Marjorie Stiegler and Dr. Ed Mariano. Even though I could only attend two days of the meeting, I was able to engage and learn from other ambassadors through #ANES18.
I had a fabulous time at Anesthesiology 2018 and look forward to next year's meeting in Orlando, Florida!
Amanda Xi, MD, MSE is currently a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, MA and upon graduation will be continuing at MGH as a critical care fellow. She is an active blogger at her self-titled website and also active on Twitter (@amandasxi), Facebook, Instagram (@amandaeleven), LinkedIn, and Doximity. She is also a 2018–2019 Doximity Author.