NEW ORLEANS — The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today presented Vivianne Tawfik, M.D., Ph.D., with its 2022 James E. Cottrell Presidential Scholar Award in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the fundamental understanding of pain mechanisms to treat patients with chronic and post-surgical pain. The award is presented annually to ASA members who have dedicated their formative career to research.
Dr. Tawfik is an associate professor and the associate vice-chair for basic science in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, as well as the director of the department’s Fellowship in Anesthesia Research and Medicine (FARM). She specializes in the research and treatment of complex chronic pain disorders including chronic postoperative pain, complex regional pain syndrome and peripheral nerve injury.
Dr. Tawfik’s work to understand how peripheral and central immune cells contribute to persistent pain has spanned almost two decades. During her doctoral studies, she discovered that two types of glial cells in the spinal cord — microglia and astrocytes — were important for post-injury pain responses and opioid tolerance. These findings laid the groundwork for subsequent investigations during her postdoctoral fellowships investigating the identity of sensory and spinal neurons involved in pain perception and analgesia.
“On behalf of ASA, I congratulate Dr. Tawfik on this well-deserved honor,” said ASA President Randall M. Clark, M.D., FASA. “As our nation continues to grapple with the opioid epidemic, her research helps us to further our understanding of chronic and post-surgical pain. This knowledge promises to help anesthesiologists provide patients with the safest care possible while developing alternatives to opioids.”
An outstanding teacher and mentor of students and residents, Dr. Tawfik was the founding co-president of the Early-Stage Anesthesiology Scholars, a group focused on fostering mentorship for early-career anesthesiologist-scientists. In addition, she has served on multiple review panels at the National Institutes of Health and is an associate editor for the British Journal of Anaesthesia. She is a trustee of the International Anesthesia Research Society, a member of the Anesthesia Research Council’s working group on the physician-scientist pipeline and will serve as vice chair of ASA’s Scientific Advisory Committee beginning this fall.
Dr. Tawfik received her bachelor’s degree with first class honors from McGill University, Quebec, Canada, and her M.D./Ph.D. in neuroscience, with a focus on basic pain mechanisms, from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire. She completed her anesthesiology residency in the FARM research track at Stanford University, followed by a subspecialty fellowship in pain medicine, also at Stanford. She is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS
Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 56,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.
For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/madeforthismoment. Join the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2022 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES22.
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