What Makes the American Society of Anesthesiology So Important?

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The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) conducted its annual meeting in San Francisco, CA. This is a significant meeting which gathers Anesthesiologists from all "walks" of life- academicians, private practitioners, clinicians, educators, scientists, administrators, inventors, and almost everyone in between. It represents opportunities to interact with senior faculty and some of the paragons of Anesthesia today, reconnect with colleagues and discuss science, education, and new technologies in a technology-heavy field. Despite its name, the ASA is much more than an "American" meeting with important and robust representation from the international anesthesia community.

The annual meeting has a deeper context than merely a meeting, however. The hundreds of panels, debates, talks, and PBLDs (including multilingual presentations) spread over nearly a week encourages and facilitates creative learning, thinking idea sharing, and provides participants with access to some of the leaders in the field. I (A.C.) had a lengthy conversation with my mentor and friend, Steven Roth, the international expert on postoperative visual loss. It also makes for accidental run-ins with other investigators who are key to your future success- for example, I (A.C.) had a lengthy conversation with an R01 funded investigator who pointed out things to enhance my upcoming K application. Without having the elite minds that the ASA annual meeting attracts, such conversations and connections would not be possible.

From an educational perspective, there are numerous panels and talks for faculty surrounding educational initiatives and enhancements. Given that many academic faculty are on the educational pathway, these talks offer cross-pollination and ideas to take back to their institution to enhance educational offerings for trainee benefit.

While on the subject of trainees, the ASA offers a highly discounted rate to presenters and trainees to encourage participation and attendance. Many anesthesia component state societies such as Texas Society of Anesthesia provide funds for their trainee membership to help to defray the cost of attendance. Preparing young anesthesiologists in training for practice is one of the most important aspects of the meeting. There are several sessions aim at helping facilitate the young anesthesiologists' transition into academic or private practices. The meeting planners demonstrate their commitment to the future with the sessions provided specifically for medical students applying to anesthesiology residency programs. Each year at the ASA meeting, a residency fair is conducted by programs, a chance for prospective applicants to 'meet and greet' program representatives and program directors during the commencement of the match year.

To state that the ASA is the annual meeting is not fully inclusive of what the ASA has to offer. There are numerous programs offered at the ASA focusing on professional development. This includes the Certificate in Business Administration, and many have gone onto do MBAs after this course. Attendance at this meeting is more than just about education and mingling; it's about dedication to leadership and to the global anesthesiology community of continued commitment to the future of the field.

The annual meeting remains an important part of anesthesiologists' future. Whether for the new clinical base year trainee, the full professor or the private practitioner, there represents a great wealth of information to be shared, thought about, discussed, or even picked apart. Every year the explosion of novel anesthesia research necessitates having separate tracks for individuals in subspecialty areas of anesthetic practice. Aside from coverage of the core anesthesia disciplines: ambulatory, cardiac, critical care, obstetrical, pain, pediatrics, and regional anesthesia, the meeting incorporates items such as practice management and ethics lectures and workshops in addition to the growing number of hands-on simulation-based workshops (i.e. regional and echo). The ability to interface with the new equipment, medications and software, and their company representatives invites a platform for all attendees to learn about ever advancing technologies and device offerings.

In conclusion, the annual meeting international anesthesiologists conducted by the American Society for Anesthesiology represents the crème de la crème of anesthesiology worldwide and an opportunity to connect with the global community. Our success as both a general field as well as constitutive subspecialty fields, which make up the ever-growing domain of Anesthesiology, depend on the ASA and all it has to offer. The most important thing that not only do we continue to support the ASA and its efforts- but we attend the annual meeting. After all, it's the people that make the meeting.

Arvind Chandrakantan, MD, MBA, FAAP is a practicing pediatric anesthesiologist in Houston, TX at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. The views expected herein are his personal opinions and do not reflect any entities, professional and public societies, or the viewpoints of his employers. He is a 2018-2019 Doximity Author.

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