Drs. Michael Fitzsimons, Ronald Harter, and Catherine Kuhn join Dr. Striker for a no holds barred conversation about death by suicide in the anesthesia community. Listen in as they discuss the connection to substance use disorders, factors that drive suicide rates up, resources that can help, and how individuals and organizations can contribute to healthier work environments and support colleagues dealing with tragedy. Recorded April 2023.
This episode is sponsored by GE HealthCare.
Ronald L. Harter, MD, FASA, is president-elect of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). He was elected for a one-year term in October 2022.
Dr. Harter is the Jay J. Jacoby professor of the Department of Anesthesiology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and a practicing anesthesiologist at the university’s Wexner Medical Center.
Dr. Harter is a member of ASA’s Executive Committee and Administrative Council. Over the past three decades, he has served ASA in numerous roles, most recently as ASA first vice president. Additionally, he served as speaker of ASA’s House of Delegates and ASA’s representative to the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. He has chaired ASA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Physician Well-Being, Committee on Young Physicians, Committee on Medical Students and Residents, and Committee on Bylaws. He has been a member of several ASA committees, including the Perioperative Surgical Home Steering Committee and Ad Hoc Committee on Perioperative Medicine.
Dr. Harter has been an active member of the Ohio Society of Anesthesiologists since 1994 and served as its president.
Dr. Harter received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Capital University in Ohio and completed his Doctor of Medicine at The Ohio State University. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology.
He lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife Katharine; they have five children.
Michael G. Fitzsimons, MD, is associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School and eirector of the division of cardiac anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Fitzsimons is chairperson of the ASA advisory group on substance use disorders prevention and co-chair of the working group on physician mental health and suicide prevention. He is passionate about physician well-being.
Dr. Fitzsimons received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. He then served as a general medical officer and flight surgeon in the United States Army where he developed his interest in how health can impacts professional performance.
Catherine M. Kuhn, MD, holds the rank of professor with tenure in the department of anesthesiology at Duke University Medical School. She is the designated institutional official, and associate dean for graduate medical education for Duke University Hospital and Health System. Dr. Kuhn has responsibility for approximately 160 residencies and fellowships, including 106 ACGME-accredited programs, comprising nearly 1200 residents and fellows. In her GME leadership role, she has fostered increased collaboration of GME leaders and trainees with health system quality and safety efforts, promotion of a healthy learning environment, and efforts promoting physician well-being.
Dr. Kuhn practiced as an intensive care unit nurse for three years prior to her pursuit of a medical career. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she received her BSN with high honors. She graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1987, followed by a medicine internship at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, and anesthesiology residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She joined the faculty at Duke in 1991, where she has won numerous teaching awards.
Dr. Kuhn has held leadership positions in many national medical education organizations, including the Society for Education in Anesthesia, the Association of Anesthesiology Core Program Directors, and the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. She received the ACGME’s Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award in 2004. Dr. Kuhn is the co-chair of the ACGME’s CLER Evaluation Committee and has been a CEC member since 2016. She serves on the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ committee on physician well-Being, and co-chairs its working group on mental health/suicide prevention.
Adam Striker, MD, FASA, is currently Chair of the ASA Committee on Communications, and is the series editor for ASA’s Central Line podcast series. He is an Associate Professor and serves as staff anesthesiologist in the Division of Cardiac Anesthesia at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and in the Division of Pediatric Anesthesia at Kentucky Children’s Hospital as part of the Joint Congenital Heart Care Program. He received his undergraduate degree in engineering from Purdue University and his medical degree from Indiana University. He completed his pediatric anesthesiology fellowship at Northwestern University.
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Date of last update: May 31, 2023