News & Announcements

Young Anesthesiology Leaders Pursue Scientific Discovery

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 ASA Newsletter.

By providing fellowships to medical students with an interest in anesthesiology and research, the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) aims to expand the scientific talent in the specialty. FAER’s Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowships provide funding to support students over a summer or a year in focusing on anesthesiology research, training in scientific methods and techniques, and learning how to incorporate research into a medical career.

Becoming an Exceptional Anesthesiologist
Chad Greene, D.O., is a PGY-1 anesthesiology resident at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Greene graduated from the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed a FAER Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowship at Vanderbilt last year. As a medical student, Dr. Greene served as chair of the ASA Medical Student Component, on the ASA Board of Directors, the ASA Committee on Residents and Medical Students and as a state officer for the South Carolina Medical Association – Medical Student Section. He is interested in pursuing a career in academic anesthesiology.

FAER: What did you learn about research and anesthesiology during your MSARF experience?

Greene: “Before participating in the MSARF program, the thought of participating in a large-scale research project was frightening. My experience with MSARF was truly extraordinary. I learned how to properly approach, design and carry out a research study in a very organized and methodical manner. I was also introduced to the field of anesthesiology in a very different light through FAER. Up until the start of my summer research fellowship, I had only seen the inner workings of anesthesia from the operating room. I soon realized, however, that an exceptional anesthesiologist also devotes his/her time investigating the many unanswered questions in our field in the form of research.”

FAER: Your mentor was Scott Watkins, M.D., a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, who has a research grant from the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation. What did you learn from working with him?

Greene: “Dr. Watkins was an incredible mentor during my summer fellowship at Vanderbilt and continues as a valuable mentor and friend today. Perhaps the most significant thing that I learned from him was the importance of having physician-scientists in the field of anesthesiology and the practice of medicine as a whole. Anesthesiologists who incorporate research into their practices are true pioneers of our day. Without them, our field would lack the progressive and dynamic nature that it is known for.”

FAER: In what ways has your anesthesia research fellowship prepared you for a career in academic anesthesiology?

Greene: “Before participating in MSARF, I was undecided whether I wanted to pursue a career in academics. I soon realized, however, that academic anesthesiology offered a world of exciting opportunities. The MSARF experience laid the foundation for my career in academic anesthesia and taught me how to think scientifically as a physician.”

Sparking a Flame of Interest in Academic Anesthesiology
Stephen Shumpert is a medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) who will graduate in 2016. He received his B.S. in Exercise Science from Brigham Young University in 2011. Steve’s early interest in anesthesiology has fostered many opportunities for him, including serving as co-president of MCW’s anesthesiology interest group, MCW delegate to the ASA, and participant in MCW’s Anesthesiology Resident Assistant Program. Through the FAER MSARF program, he presented his research project investigating the cardioprotective effects of Intralipid™ at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2013 FAER MSARF Symposium. At the annual meeting, he attended his first ASA Medical Student Component meeting as a delegate, and he is now chair of the Medical Student Component. Steve plans to pursue an anesthesiology residency.

FAER: What did you learn about research and anesthesiology during your MSARF experience?

Shumpert: I learned how to perform many laboratory assays and how to apply the scientific method. I gained insight into how translational research can greatly improve patient care and the vast areas that can be further investigated. The program provided early clinical experience in allowing me to work with my mentor in caring for patients throughout the perioperative period, which confirmed my decision to choose anesthesiology as a career.

FAER: Your mentor was Matthias Riess, M.D., Ph.D., an established physician-scientist who has a career development grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs. What did you learn from working with him?

Shumpert: It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Riess. He was exceptionally inviting and excited about getting me involved as a contributing member of the research team. He has mentored me in the scientific method as well as in how to succeed as a medical student, anesthesiology resident and future academic anesthesiologist. We formed a friendship that will continue throughout our careers.

FAER: In what ways has your anesthesia research fellowship prepared you for a career in academic anesthesiology?

Shumpert: This research experience sparked a flame for me not only to be an anesthesiologist providing exceptional care to patients, but also to be involved and invested in the continuation of increasing scientific knowledge in the field in order to further improve patient care. I gained experience in gathering, summarizing and presenting data in a meaningful way. I have been able to present my research findings at three poster sessions. I have also been exposed to the process of publication, as we currently have a journal submission pending. Dr. Riess provided a great example of how to balance clinical care with research pursuits and educational responsibilities.

Take Part in the Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowship Program

FAER’s Medical Student Anesthesia Research Fellowships provide funding to support students over a summer – or a year – in focusing on anesthesiology research, training in scientific methods and techniques, and learning how to incorporate research into a medical career.

Mentors: You can apply to host a FAER-sponsored medical student at your department for an eight-week period over the summer. The application to host a student for summer 2016 will open Sept. 15. Visit FAER.org/MSARF for more information.

Students: You can apply to participate in a summer or year-long anesthesia research fellowship. Applications for the 2015-16 academic year will open in  November. Visit FAER.org/MSARF for more information.