A Kind Soul and Paragon of Anesthesiology and Research: Celebrating 2023 Friend of FAER Honoree Dr. Steven Barker

September 28, 2023

Dr. Steven Barker HeadshotFAER is delighted to recognize Steven J. Barker, PhD, MD, FACA, as this year’s Friend of FAER Honoree. Dr. Barker will be celebrated at the Friends of FAER Reception at ANESTHESIOLOGY® in San Francisco this October.

First awarded in 2021, the Friend of FAER Honor recognizes individuals who have had broad impact on the world of anesthesiology research and its investigators, including those who have served as a resource or mentor for a substantial number of up-and-coming anesthesiology researchers.

Dr. Barker perfectly encapsulates the traits FAER seeks when awarding the Friend of FAER Honor. He has served as an exceptional mentor to numerous anesthesiologists and investigators, as well as made extensive contributions to science in anesthesiology, including his oft lauded work on pulse oximeters. He also continues to aid FAER’s mission to develop the next generation of physician-investigators through generous volunteerism and financial support. Currently, Dr. Barker serves on FAER’s Development Committee. 

“Being named the Friend of FAER by the Foundation for Anesthesiology Education and Research is the greatest honor of my career, for three reasons. First, the core of FAER’s mission is my own career mission: to promote advancements in teaching and research. FAER is the international leader in this goal of fostering teaching and research. Second, this award specifically recognizes my success as an educator and mentor, which has always been the most important and satisfying aspects of my academic anesthesiology position. And finally, the members of FAER have been my colleagues and collaborators for many years, so this recognition comes from the people I respect most in our field. Thank you, FAER!” – Steven J. Barker, PhD, MD, FACA, 2023 Friend of FAER Honoree

Dr. Barker earned his PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1972 and his MD from the University of Miami in 1981. He has achieved tenure as both a professor in engineering (University of California, Los Angeles) and in anesthesiology (University of California, Irvine; University of Arizona). Along with his teaching, Dr. Barker also served as Chair for the Department of Anesthesiology at UC Irvine from 1990 to 1995 before transitioning to Chair at the University of Arizona from 1995 through 2013.

These are not the only leadership positions Dr. Barker has served in over his distinguished career. Additional roles include Chair of the Council of Clinical Department Heads, Director of Academic Anesthesiology for the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Chief Science Officer (CSO) for Masimo, President of the Society for Technology in Anesthesia (STA), and Governance Board Member of the Patient Safety Movement, among others. On top of his contributions through this myriad of roles, Dr. Barker has also published over 200 academic papers along with 29 textbook chapters.

Dr. Steven Barker CorvetteThere is, of course, “more to the man” than Dr. Barker’s ample contributions to anesthesiology and research. Father to two daughters and a son, and proud grandfather to three, his interests include American and European history, tennis, the Latin language, and fast cars. These interests come coupled with a passion for airplanes and flight – little surprise given his degree in aeronautical engineering. In fact, among Dr. Barker’s many accomplishments is his successful landing of a small-scale passenger plane following midair single-engine failure!

There is no shortage of successes to celebrate about Dr. Barker and his career. However, a prevailing characteristic became clear when hearing from his friends and colleagues: the impeccable quality of his character. Not only a skilled leader and knowledgeable scholar, Dr. Barker was consistently noted as a truly kind, compassionate individual. A trait that no doubt proved instrumental in his success as a mentor and leader for so many, to the benefit of all.

Please join FAER in congratulating Dr. Barker on his selection as the 2023 Friend of FAER Honoree. We hope you enjoy these tributes from some of the many Dr. Barker has impacted and worked with over his career.

Dr. Steven Barker at FAER Donor Wall“Steve is a great scientist, physician, and teacher but most of all a great human being trying to leave the world a better place.” – Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, FASA, FACHE

“Steven Barker – truly a leader in our field. Bringing new technology to anesthesia and all of healthcare.”
– James H. Philip, ME(E), MD

“Above all, Steve is a wonderful human being, full of compassion, empathy, and ‘lebenslust’.”
– Rainer W.G. Gruessner, MD, PhD(GE), FACS, FICS, FAST

“Dr. Barker’s innovative ideas proved critical to the survival of our academic anesthesiology departments and the continued development of young investigators in our specialty.”
– Roger A. Johns, MD, MHS, PhD, FAER Board Chair

“Throughout my career, I followed Steve’s lead in making sure that work always remained fun.”
– Robert “Butch” Loeb, MD

“Steve’s generosity, financially and intellectually, has been large and sustained, and for that I and FAER cannot thank him enough.” – James C. Eisenach, MD, FAER President

The Friend of FAER Honor is awarded annually, with honorees selected by a cohort of FAER leaders. Previous honorees include:

  • Alison Cole, PhD (2021)
  • Margaret Wood, MB, ChB, FACA, FRCA (2022)

FAER is a related organization of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). For over 35 years, FAER has been dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-investigators in anesthesiology. Charitable contributions and support to FAER help fuel the future of anesthesiology through scientific discovery. Funding priorities include: Research, Education, and Training. At the time of this article's publication, FAER has awarded more than $55 million in research grants and programs since 1986. To donate to FAER, visit FAER.org/donate.

Curated by: BH

Last updated by: BH

Date of last update: September 27, 2023