FAER History

Since 1986, the service of individuals such as William Hamilton, MD, our first board president, the financial support of donors such as Gertie Marx, MD, who remembered FAER in her estate, and the passion of the countless medical students, residents and physicians who dedicate themselves to the field of anesthesia have all contributed greatly to the success of FAER.

Our achievements, however, were preceeded by several important events. In 1972, the ASA established a committee on research with a distribution budget of $10,000. In addition, the Parker B. Frances Foundation of Kansas City, Missouri, funded young investigators focused on research in anesthesiology. When the ASA established the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation Research Fellowship in 1980, researchers in anesthesia received further financial support. But it wasn’t until 1985, when Peter McDermott, MD, PhD, with the support from Clifford Parish of the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, proposed the establishment of a separate, tax-exempt organization, that the first real conversations about what would eventually become FAER took place.

Those conversations concluded October 21, 1986, when the ASA House of Delegates approved the formation of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. The goal of FAER would be to facilitate continuous improvements in anesthesiology by fostering and encouraging education, research and scientific progress in the field. Recount now the great years of FAER and service to the specialty.


  • The ASA House of Delegates establishes the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) to facilitate continuous improvements in anesthesiology by fostering and encouraging education, research and scientific progress.
  • ASA, the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation and the Parker B. Frances Foundation each provide funding to create FAER.
  • Nine anesthesiologists serve as the founding board members of FAER, including William Hamilton, MD, elected as the first board president in 1987.


  • FAER’s first board of directors meeting is held in Chicago.
  • FAER awards its first research grants.


  • Martin Helrich, MD, is appointed FAER’s first executive director.
  • The FAER endowment fund is established.


  • FAER receives its first bequest from Gertie Marx, MD. The funds are earmarked to support obstetrical anesthesia and maternal welfare.
  • The FAER Advisory Board is formed. Representatives from corporations who actively support anesthesiology now contribute to the strategic direction of FAER.
  • FAER initiates the Annual Meeting Resident Scholar Program, which provides funds for residents in anesthesiology to attend the ASA annual meeting each year.


  • FAER awards its first Educational Grant.


  • The FAER endowment fund exceeds $1 million.
  • FAER establishes the Research Fellowship Grant program.


  • Research activity supported by FAER during the year exceeds $1 million.


  • Under the new leadership of Alan D. Sessler, MD, the FAER office moves to Rochester, Minnesota, from Baltimore, Maryland.


  • The FAER endowment fund reaches $5 million, allowing FAER to initiate the Clinical Research Starter Grant program, developed to foster patient-oriented research.


  • The Research in Education Grant program, for research focused on developing innovative techniques for education anesthesiologists, begins.


  • Debra A. Schwinn, MD, gives the first-ever FAER Honorary Research Lecture, “Thinking Out of the Box – Anethesiology Research in the 21st Century.” The lecture series recognizes outstanding scholarship by an anesthesiologist and encourages other physicians to undertake careers in research and teaching.


  • FAER establishes the Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology to facilitate the development of mentors in the specialty. The Mentored Research Training Grant program also begins.


  • The Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowship (MSARF) program begins, providing summer research opportunities to 14 medical students in its first year.


  • ASA celebrates its centennial anniversary. Funds raised during the ASA Centennial Gala, a hugely successful event, benefit the ASA foundations, including FAER.


  • FAER and ASA continue their strong relationship. Since the founding of FAER, ASA has contributed $20 million to FAER, and FAER has awarded more than $20 million in grants.


  • FAER’s Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology launches the FAER Mentoring Excellence in Research Award, honoring David Warltier, MD, PhD, as their first awardee.


  • FAER celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • Denham S. Ward, MD, PhD, succeeds Alan D. Sessler, MD, as president of FAER.
  • FAER awards $1.76 million in research grants.


  • FAER partners with the Anesthesia Quality Institute to create a pilot mentored grant in health services research. The first FAER-AQI Mentored Research Training Grant – Health Services Research will begin in 2013.
  • The FAER Board of Directors establishes the Academy of Education Mentors in Anesthesiology. The Education Mentor Academy initiates activities to improve education mentorship in anesthesiology. It recognizes educators and mentors who have made significant contributions to the advancement of academic anesthesiologists.
  • FAER commits $1.875 million to funding research grants.


  • FAER partners with the Anesthesia Quality Institute to award the first-ever Mentored Research Training Grants – Health Services Research. The awards go to May Hua, MD (Columbia University) and Robert Schonberger, MD (Yale University).
  • The FAER Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology marks its 10th anniversary by welcoming new members Michael Avidan, MBBCh, DA, FCASA; John F. Capacchione, MD; Jianren Mao, MD, PhD; Y.S. Prakash, MD, PhD; Warren Sandberg, MD, PhD; and Jay Yang, MD, PhD.
  • Seventeen anesthesiologists receive FAER grants totaling $2.4 million. With these awards, FAER’s all-time funding surpassed $31 million.
  • The Resident Scholar Program, which started in 1989, celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • Fifty-six medical students participate in summer anesthesiology research fellowships through FAER’s Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowship Program. In 2013, 96% of those students would recommend the program to peers.


  • Sixteen anesthesiologists representing 13 institutions received FAER grants in 2014 in the areas of basic science, clinical, translational, health services or education research. The award funding exceeded $2.5 million, which is the highest amount FAER has ever awarded during a grant cycle.
  • Continuing the track record of success by FAER grantees, 10 of the 21 anesthesiologists who had completed work on a FAER-funded Mentored Research Training Grant since 2010 received NIH funding in 2014. Others received significant extramural funding from organizations such as the American Heart Association and institutional grants.
  • Sixty medical students participated in the FAER Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowship Summer Program thanks to the hospitality of 37 host anesthesiology departments. The students presented their research during a three-hour symposium at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2014 annual meeting.
  • Sixty anesthesiology residents participated in the FAER Resident Scholar Program, which provides selected anesthesiology residents with the opportunity to attend the ASA ANESTHESIOLOGY® annual meeting each year.