Subspecialty News: SAAA Update – A Future Focused on Education

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October 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 10
Subspecialty News: SAAA Update – A Future Focused on Education Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D., President
Society of Academic Anesthesiology Associates (SAAA)

The one constant is change. SAAA is continuing to evolve as an umbrella organization for our academic groups of chairs (AAAC), core program directors (AACPD) and specialty directors (AASPD). All three of these groups have put together a great educational program for our annual meeting this fall, which is always held in conjunction with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). This year we will be in Philadelphia. We will hear from two of the AAMC leaders in one of our combined sessions. All three organizations have group-specific programs for the first day. Then we all come together on the second day to cover topics of interest to us all. These general topics include, but are not limited to, payment, fellowships, quality and safety, and then we conclude with updates from all of our related organizations. Much of the information covered will help us all adapt to both the new program accreditation system as well as to the new individual board certification process.

Just as health care is changing, so, too, is SAAA manage-ment. This transition in management companies has been led by Jeff Kirsch, M.D. Jeff and his team, working with our ASA staff, did a very thorough job in creating a request for proposal (RFP) and evaluating the RFPs as they came in, so that we could select the best company to serve SAAA well for years to come. We had seven companies respond to our RFP. The companies were evaluated based on the services they provided, including meeting support and management fee structure. In the final analysis, Svinicki Association Management, Inc. (SAMI) was chosen. Jeff and his team are confident that SAMI will be able to work with SAAA in the years to come in order to help grow and build all the education endeavors of our three organizations, the Association of Academic Anesthesia Chairs (AAAC), the Association of Anesthesiology Core Program Directors (AACPD) and the Association of Anesthesiology Subspecialty Program Directors (AASPD).

AAAC Update

Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D.


AAAC is pleased to announce a membership of 133 members. The following are our current slate of officers: President, Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D.; President-Elect, Jeffrey Kirsch, M.D.; Secretary/Treasurer, Mark Newman, M.D.; and Immediate Past President, Berend Mets, M.B., Ph.D. The following individuals serve on our AAAC Council: Keith Jones, M.D., David Zvara, M.D., Lee Fleischer, M.D. and Peter Rock, M.D. We are appreciative of all our elected members, as well as our membership, for their dedication to our education organization. In conjunction with our fellow associations of core program directors and subspecialty program directors, we are busy planning for a great annual educational meeting this November 1-2, 2013, at the Westin Philadelphia Hotel. Our AAAC program will include a session geared specifically for our new chairs. We will also hear about the Perioperative Surgical Home model of care, the changing practice landscape related to the explosion of large-group practices and acquisitions. We will also be updated on the latest topics in compliance. Other areas covered include re-entry programs and exit strategies. It should prove to be an excellent education meeting, so we hope to see you all there. I am sure that both in our council meeting, as well as in our business meeting, we will discuss many issues pertinent to the future of our specialty and impacting the education and training of our residents and fellows. We hope everyone had a great summer and a successful July! We look forward to seeing you in Philly in November.

AACPD Update

Catherine M. Kuhn, M.D. President

I hope this finds all of our members breathing a sigh of relief that July is over and our new trainees are starting out successfully!

Your council has been working behind the scenes this year to produce an informative, up-to-date program for the fall meeting in Philadelphia (November 1-2). Please make plans now to attend, as we have tried to develop a program in response to your needs and suggestions. Additionally, we have been working on communication with the ABA and ACGME about various topics of mutual interest. I’ve sent a couple of emails over the year about these important changes.

For the second year in a row, we will offer separate tracks on Friday morning for new and experienced program directors. New program directors can anticipate hearing about feedback and evaluation, and the expectations of a new program director. Our experienced program directors will enjoy sessions on best practices for teaching O.R. management and optimizing our resident selection process. Following that session, we will be together for the remainder of Friday to discuss topics of interest to all of us, including all-in for the NRMP, the new two-part ABA exam, and of course, the NAS, CLER visits and Milestones. We have included lots of time for question/answer and networking. The AACPD business meeting on Friday will include our elections for officers and council members.

On Saturday, our colleagues from the Anesthesiology RRC will be available for individual program consultations, as they have been in the past. Register for those now! Another topic of shared interest to all three of the SAAA organizations is the panel on fellowships. As our fellowships increase in number, and the application process becomes more formalized with matches, we’ve had to deal with issues such as resident time away for interviews, the cost of interviews to the candidates and programs, and the potential need for terminal vacation for everyone. Drs. Pardo, Stafford-Smith, and Lubarsky will be discussing these topics in a panel on Saturday. Saturday will also feature the traditional presentations from the ABA, RRC and Joint Council.

AASPD Update Gary J. Brenner, Ph.D.


AASPD has had a very successful year, providing education to and a forum for anesthesia fellowship program directors. Progress was made in two key areas during the 2012 annual meeting. The majority of the pain medicine program directors agreed to participate in an NRMP match for the current fellow recruitment cycle, and it appears that approximately 85 percent of the pain medicine fellowship positions for the 2014-15 training year will be filled via the Match. Second, AASPD included representation by several obstetric anesthesia program directors. Continued integration by the group will be complemented by the appointment of an OB anesthesia PD to the AASPD governing counsel.

The AASPD component of the 2013 annual meeting is sure to be informative and interesting. The focus will be on the integration of patient safety and quality assurance education into fellowship training. This is especially relevant, as the ACGME has dictated that in the NAS program, directors will have to ensure that “residents are integrated and actively participate in interdisciplinary clinical quality improvement and patient safety programs.” As a long-term goal, the AASPD is working on building Web-based infrastructure to promote ongoing, real-time communication between program directors.

There are many changes happening in anesthesia education, and this meeting will provide a lot of information in two short days. I hope to see you there!

Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D. is John L. Plewes Professor and Chair with Tenure, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City. She is ASA President-Elect.