ASA Executive Office Report: Getting Started

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March 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 3
ASA Executive Office Report: Getting Started Paul Pomerantz

Several decades ago – we won’t say exactly how many – I started my professional career in hospital administration working, over the course of a decade, for two major Philadelphia health systems.

My responsibilities included the O.R.s, surgery center, emergency department, trauma center and other clinical departments. I had a lot of day-to-day interaction with anesthesiologists and remember these physicians as a constant in my daily work, central to the effective operation of our medical center. Frankly, I held your specialty in awe. It seemed that you were always there and relied upon in the most critical moments of health care, managing core functions of the health delivery system and, more importantly, the most essential aspects of medical care.

Fast forward to December, and I have been offered the opportunity to serve as your chief executive. For me, this opportunity represents the culmination of a great career in which I have worked with many specialties, in many settings, including government, hospitals, managed care and professional associations. Now I have the opportunity to serve as your first full-time chief executive, in a high profile and rapidly growing organization, at a time of profound challenge and opportunity. This is, indeed, humbling.

I had the opportunity, over the years, to learn about ASA from afar through my experience as chief executive of other medical societies and health-related organizations, and my participation at the AMA and various coalitions. Within these circles you are highly regarded. You have an excellent reputation for an engaged physician leadership that spans geographically and across diverse practice settings. Your advocacy profile is among the highest of medical groups in Washington. You are known for programs in quality and safety, superb education and strong membership growth. You are leaders in health policy and health delivery.

Despite this, as we all know, the times we face are very challenging. My goal – my job – will be to work with our elected and appointed leaders, our many volunteers, and our excellent staff to support your programs in advocacy, education and science, so that you can do what you best – serve your patients.

My first “official day” will be March 4. However, I have used the opportunity over the last couple months to get to know our leaders, our staff and many of you. Soon it will be time for me to get started, and to work with you to advance your interests and those of the patients you serve.

As I get ready to dig in on my first day, I want to express my appreciation. First, I wish to thank Dr. Gene Sinclair and the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on CEO Search. The interview process opened a window to a warm and engaged group of physician leaders. The depth of dialogue and diligence on your part provided me confidence in your organization. Second, I wish to thank Dr. John Zerwas, ASA’s officers and the members of the Administrative Council who have been most supportive as I have started to learn about this complex specialty and organization. My special appreciation to Dr. Barbara Fossum, as Interim CEO, who helped bring the two offices of ASA into a cohesive unit and create a solid foundation for me to begin my work. Finally, thanks to all of you for providing me this opportunity to work with and to serve you, for the chance of a lifetime. Now it is time to get started ...

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to write me, anytime, at

Paul Pomerantz is ASA’s Chief Executive Officer.