A Message from the President

January 2020

Dear AACPD Members,

Welcome to the AACPD. I would like to review a brief history of our organization, introduce our leadership group, share our approach to planning the annual meeting, and highlight ongoing projects.

A History of the AACPD

The first efforts to organize anesthesia chairs and program directors began in the 1960’s. In 1964, an organization known as the Southeastern University Department of Anesthesia Chairmen (SUDAC) held its first meeting at Emory University. The invited participants included chairmen of University departments of anesthesiology located south of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mississippi River. The major topic of discussion was the poor recruitment of medical students into the field of anesthesiology compared with that for many other specialties. In the late 1960s, SUDAC leadership approached chairmen at other academic anesthesiology departments in the country, ultimately leading to formation of the Society of Academic Anesthesia Chairmen (SAAC).

In the 1980s, another group of anesthesiology departments was recognized - those with approved residency programs in a hospital not closely affiliated with a school of medicine. This resulted in formation of the Association of Anesthesiology Program Directors (AAPD), which held annual meetings jointly with SAAC. At this time, the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) required that all program directors were chairs. Functionally, the SAAC/AAPD was an organization of chairs, and a program director who was not chair could not become a member of SAAC/AAPD.

In the 1990s, the work of the core anesthesiology program director began to increase significantly because of changes in ACGME requirements and associated administrative responsibilities. Increasingly, academic chairs delegated the work of the program director to a different faculty member. The ABA no longer required the chair to be the program director.

By the mid 2000’s, approximately half of program directors were also academic chairs. Another important trend during this time was the creation of ACGME-approved fellowships in anesthesia subspecialties. These specialty program directors had no representation in SAAC/AAPD. In late 2007, SAAC/AAPD voted to restructure the organization to allow membership of all academic anesthesiology chairs, core residency program directors and eventually subspecialty program directors. In 2008, SAAC was officially restructured to become the Society of Academic Anesthesiology Associations (SAAA), an umbrella organization supporting the Association of Academic Anesthesiology Chairs (AAAC), the Association of Anesthesiology Core Program Directors (AACPD), and the Association of Anesthesiology Subspecialty Program Directors (AASPD). Finally, anesthesiology residency program directors have an official professional organization.

AACPD Leadership, Past and Present

Current Council members include the following:

Past Presidents include Stephen Rupp (2008-2009), Ted Sanford (2009-2011), Catherine Kuhn (2011- 2013), Joy Hawkins (2013-2015), Karen Souter (2015-2016), and Manuel Pardo (2017.

How does AACPD fit within the vision of SAAAPM, our parent organization?

SAAAPM aims to be the academic anesthesiology society that effectively represents, advocates, and educates around issues pertinent to academic anesthesiology with the purpose of enhancing academic anesthesiology education, research, and quality clinical care.

Of most relevance to AACPD members, SAAAPM would like to provide a collegial and supportive forum for the exchange of ideas and experience with a particular emphasis on the following:

  1. Structure of academic anesthesiology departments, residency and fellowship programs, and the requirements to effectively manage these entities;
  2. Methods of education, research, quality assurance, clinical care, and revenue generation.

What principles guide AACPD annual meeting planning?

The annual meeting attempts to address the following issues of interest to core program directors:

  1. ACGME accreditation issues including new program requirements
  2. Trends in the specialty that impact residents and their training
  3. Networking, especially for new program directors
  4. Learning the best practices or approaches to common work of program directors (e.g., evaluation, remediation, curriculum, selection)

What projects has AACPD pursued for the benefit of its members?

Projects have included the following:

  1. A Standardized Letter of Recommendation (SLOR) for medical students applying to anesthesia residency. Drs. Deb Schwengel (Johns Hopkins), Manny Pardo (UCSF), and Daniel Lee (UCSD) have created Word and PDF versions. These files are available here. Please consider using the SLOR, as a growing number of PD's find them easier and more efficient to read and write.
  2. The New Anesthesia Program Directors Manual. This document was created by Karen Souter (University of Washington) to orient the new anesthesia core program director to different aspects of the role.
  3. Surveys of Anesthesia PD’s. AACPD and SAAAPM have an approval process to distribute surveys to core program directors. The request form can be downloaded here. Requirements for a SAAAPM-distributed survey include preparing a comprehensive report of the survey findings to be posted on the SAAAPM web site. Prior surveys can be viewed here (AACPD) and here (AAAC).
  4. Repository for presentations at prior AACPD meetings. The AACPD web site contains links to the presentations from recent annual meetings. In particular, we are sharing the results from the “Everything you wanted to know about other programs” sessions.
  5. Best practices for the fellowship application process. This year, the Council is discussing various aspects of the fellowship application process, including timing of fellowship interviews, and considering a uniform Fellowship start date of August 1.

On behalf of the AACPD Council, we welcome your suggestions for other activities we should pursue in the future.

Charles A. Napolitano, MD, PhD
President, AACPD