FAER Report: The Special Role of the Anesthesiologist-Investigator and You

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November 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 11
FAER Report: The Special Role of the Anesthesiologist-Investigator and You Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO
Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER)

Two and a half years ago at this time, I was fortunate to become president of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER). The elements of FAER’s work – research, training and mentorship – have been important to me personally and are important to the specialty overall. Thus, it is a deep honor to be a part of this community.


During my time as president of FAER, I have traveled to many medical centers, anesthesiology departments and medical schools to share FAER’s purpose. Without exception, whenever I talk with, hear from or read about an anesthesiologist who is a FAER grant recipient, I am reminded of the profound effect our work has on the larger medical community. We have a strong commitment to contribute to the future of medicine, and, for the benefit of our patients and humanity, we all want to see anesthesiology thrive and prosper.


While at a recent visit to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, I shared an old but still inspiring quote about academic medicine, which comes from a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1979 by J.B. Wyngaarden called “The Clinical Investigator as an Endangered Species.” He said, “The physician-scientist has a very special role both in posing relevant medical questions and in applying new knowledge to the investigation of disease and the teaching of students.”1 It is just as important today that we ensure that the anesthesiologist clinician-investigator does not become an “endangered species.” We can do this by supporting research in anesthesiology and academic medicine in whatever way we can.


As physicians, we use knowledge and discoveries from research to improve the quality of care and the way we practice medicine, and we can actively participate in research by seeking answers to challenging questions.


As educators, we teach the next generation of anesthesiologists not only how to provide excellent clinical care but also how to incorporate research into a career, whether through investigation or clinical practice.


As mentors, we guide our protégés as they pursue discovery and share with them the knowledge and insights we have learned along the way.


As volunteers, we participate on committees, councils and boards that allow us to help create and facilitate programs in support of research and academic medicine.


As philanthropic supporters, we make a direct contribution that helps those anesthesiologists and trainees who are actively pursuing careers as clinician-investigators. Through charitable giving, we can invest in the progress and discovery that will define a new way forward.


This is why I am pleased to ask for your support of FAER this year – and every year – to provide the resources anesthesiology needs to advance medicine through research and education. Your gift directly supports the research and career development of anesthesiologists and anesthesiology trainees, who in turn ensure scientific progress and forward movement in the field.


Please make a year-end contribution to FAER by visiting FAER.org/donate or using one of the mechanisms listed in the box to the right. Note that the recurring gift mechanism is an increasingly popular method of giving and one that shows your ongoing support for the specialty.


Thank you, in advance, for making an investment in the future of anesthesiology. Your generosity is influential!

Denham S. Ward, M.D., Ph.D. is President and CEO, Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research, and Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology and Biomedical Engineering, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York.


1. Wyngaarden JB. The clinical investigator as an endangered species. N Engl J Med. 1979;301(23):1254-1259.