Welcome from the Program Chair


Peggy P. McNaull, MD
Program Chair


Welcome to Pediatric Anesthesiology 2018!

On behalf of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, I am excited to welcome you to this year’s Pediatric Anesthesiology meeting at the amazing JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa.  Known for its year-round sun and warm temperatures, Phoenix, Arizona anchors a multicity metropolitan area known as the Valley of the Sun.  This year’s meeting spot is nestled right in the heart of this sprawling city.   In addition to a picture-perfect location, this JW Marriott is conveniently located a short drive from a variety Phoenix’s renowned landmarks – Camelback Mountain, The Musical Instrument Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Heard Museum, and Roosevelt Row – to name a few!  Between soaking in the highlights of this wonderful host city, this year’s planning committee has put together an exciting program that includes relevant topics to anesthesiologists who care for children of all ages. 

The meeting opens on Thursday, March 22nd with the Society for Pediatric Pain Medicine (SPPM) and the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society (CCAS) Annual Meetings.  Dr. Scott Dingeman for SPPM and Dr. Luis Zabala for CCAS have organized two outstanding programs for their respective societies that are not to be missed!  Please note these two meetings require separate registration.  Click here to register for the CCAS 2018 Annual Meeting.  Click here to register for the SPPM 5th Annual Meeting.

The meeting program, which offers a maximum of 30.25 CME credits, opens on Friday morning March 23rd with a fantastic session addressing pediatric trauma in and out of the ORs. Dr. Monica Vavilala will highlight what is known about anesthesia and the concussed brain. Dr. David Notrica, a local pediatric surgeon and the Director of Phoenix Children’s Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center, will discuss the management of pediatric blunt abdominal trauma.  The session will close with an ATLS update given by Dr. Graciela Argote-Romero. We will then move on to an exciting second session covering controversies in regional anesthesia.  Dr. Joe Cravero will review analgesic options for patients having pectus surgery and share lessons to be learned from the SPAIN consortium.  Dr. Sean Flack will help to decipher the conflicting literature on the relationship of caudal anesthesia to surgical complications.  Then, we will close the morning out with an exciting debate over the pros and cons of performing regional anesthesia in awake children.  Our own SPA member, Dr. Tarun Bhalla, will go toe to toe on the topic with one of world’s most renowned pediatric regional anesthesiologists, Dr. Peter Marhofer! 

Immediately following lunch, the Robert M. Smith Award will be presented to Dr. Robert Friesen.  Since 1986, this award has been presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of pediatric anesthesiology.   Dr. Friesen, an academic pediatric anesthesiologist with a strong interest in cardiac anesthesiology, is known, to his colleagues, as a well-mannered, soft spoken gentleman whose presence in the operating room always has a calming influence even in the most trying circumstances and to the pediatric anesthesia community, as a researcher whose work has greatly influenced the practice of pediatric anesthesia. 

This year we are very fortunate to have Dr. Arturo Gonzalez giving the AAP Advocacy lecture titled, “Unique Healthcare Challenges in Immigrant and Refugee Children.”  Dr. Gonzalez is a pediatrician practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona and is an active member of the Real Arizona Coalition S.A.N.E. Program for U.S. Immigration Reform lead by The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Our next session, entitled Global Pediatric Anesthesia & Surgery: Landscape, Pearls, and Pitfalls, will explore the landscape of pediatric surgical and anesthesia care in low resource settings.  We have recruited several leaders in the field to educate our membership on this important topic – Drs. Doruk Ozgediz, Mark Newton, and Mark Singleton.

Friday’s sessions will close with our cardiac refresher courses.  First, a panel of experts in pediatric cardiac anesthesia will review the tools and principles of preoperative screening for children with either confirmed or suspected congenital heart disease.   Next, Dr. Scott Walker will update us on the different categories of pediatric cardiomyopathies and the anesthetic implications of this special patient population.  

Dr. Victor Baum will kick off Saturday morning with a lecture entitled The FDA: Your Tax Dollar at Work.  Dr. Baum has a rich history within SPA of delivering both enlightening as well as entertaining messages!  We will then learn about the economics of anesthesia from an expert on the topic, Dr. Franklin Dexter.  The second session of the morning includes the surgical and anesthesia perspectives of minimally invasive surgery in neonates delivered by Dr. Katherine Barsness, a pediatric surgeon from Lurie Children’s, and Dr. Justin Long, a pediatric anesthesiologist from Emory.  The morning will conclude with our annual poster presentations and abstract awards.

Following lunch, this year’s AAP experts, Dr. Debnath Chatterjee and Dr. John Fiadjoe, will deliver lectures addressing button battery ingestions and the pediatric difficult airway.  The final session of the day boasts several of the nation’s experts on ethical issues in pediatric medicine – Drs. Doug Diekema, Alyssa Burgart, and Joel Frader.  They will highlight many of the ethical challenges we face regularly as pediatric anesthesiologists.  

Sunday begins with a session that promises to provide many strategies for success beyond the OR.  Dr. Nancy Glass will describe how to avoid Death by PowerPoint and REALLY annoying your audience!  Drs. Helen Lee and David Polaner have coordinated an outstanding panel of ‘greats’ in the world of pediatric anesthesia – the panelists will illustrate the importance of mentoring to career advancement.  Dr. Olutoyin Olutoye will moderate Best Pediatric Anesthesia Research session that will feature updates from the SPA Young Investigators and the Editors Best Picks from Anesthesia and AnalgesiaAnesthesiology,and Pediatric Anesthesiology.  And, as is our tradition, the meeting will close with an exciting game of Jeopardy where this year - East will meet West in an epic showdown!  Sunday also offers the very popular CRNA symposium and MOCA Simulation Course.

Our program features 18 workshops on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons.  In addition to our returning workshops, we are thrilled to announce the addition of six new workshops that cover a wide range of topics including professional development, simulation, technology in the ORs, the many different anesthesia societies and special interest groups, and scientific writing.  Beyond our workshops offerings, the program includes 42 opportunities to learn from your colleagues from across the country through our PBLD sessions that are offered on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, as well as Saturday afternoon.

I will close by thanking all of those who participated in this year’s meeting planning.  The planning committee spent countless hours on calls and email to put this fantastic program together.  We closely reviewed prior years’ evaluations to bring the membership’s feedback directly to the program.  We strived to offer new and relevant material presented by the world’s experts on the topic while offering both geographic and institutional diversity.  I cannot thank Kirk Lalwani enough for his advice and guidance.  Dr. Melissa Brooks, with shadow Dr. Titilopemi Aina, organized this year’s record-setting offering of workshops.  Dr. Tarun Bhalla, along with shadow Dr. Elliot Grigg and members of the education committee identified all of our outstanding PBLDs.  Drs. Luis Zabala and Scott Dingeman, from CCAS and SPPM respectively, along with Drs. Rita Agrawal and Courtney Hardy from the AAP Section on Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, gave invaluable input.  Special thanks to Dr. Robert Bryskin for his counsel and efforts as my shadow!  Many outside the planning committee deserve special mention for their efforts – specifically Faye Evans, Alyssa Burgart, Jim Spaeth and Helen Lee.  And finally, many many thanks to Kim Battle – she is the quiet (ok - sometimes not so quiet) force that makes this meeting one that we all clamber to attend year after year! 

It has been a great joy to serve as program chair for the SPA/AAP Pediatric Anesthesiology 2018 meeting.  I am honored to be a part of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia as it tirelessly strives to fulfill the mission of continually advancing the safety and quality of anesthetic care, perioperative management, and alleviation of pain in children!

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