Tarun Bhalla, MD, MBA, FASA, FAAP
Program Chair

On behalf of the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is my distinct honor to welcome you to The Bahamas for the Pediatric Anesthesiology 2020 Meeting to be held February 28-March 1, 2020. Our meeting will be held at the world-famous Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.  This upcoming meeting will be our first ever meeting being held in International Waters! First and foremost, we want to thank the local community and staff for hosting our conference, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.  We continue to wish all the best towards health and recovery efforts in the region.

The SPA-AAP Pediatric Anesthesiology 2020 Meeting is a meeting of ‘FIRSTS.’  Here is a list of just a few:
* International Venue – The Bahamas!
* Afternoon Tracks – Academic Practice, Community/Private Practice, Research, Professional Development
* Concurrent Videography of Sessions
* Most number of speakers featured on stage
* Lightning Abstracts
* Most diverse- region, gender, ethnicity
* Most non-anesthesiologists on stage

We are very excited to continue reaching a wider audience and prioritizing the relevance of the program to our vast group of practitioners with our first ever addition of afternoon TRACKS.  This includes separate afternoon pathways of topics relevant to academic practice, community-based practice, research, and professional development.  The tracks will be concurrent, and YES they will be videotaped so you can purchase all video files for future viewing and reference.  A conference participant is NOT bound to one single track or pathway, as the participant can attend various talks/panels in different tracks.  This is an effort to provide additional opportunities for personalized learning over the duration of the meeting, especially as our membership and conference participants have a wide variety of practice backgrounds, interests and goals.

Our lecture formats will be shorter to ensure we keep our audience’s attention and will incorporate a talented group of diverse speakers within the program.  We will emphasize our International Theme by incorporating speakers from Europe (ESPA), Australia (SPANZA), The Bahamas, South Africa and the Americas.  In fact, we will start our first morning with an international myth-busters themed session.  Our second session will focus on complex ethical challenges, and how they are managed in a variety of countries.  We look forward to our AAP Advocacy Lecture focusing on climate change and its implication on pediatric health. On Friday afternoon we will have concurrent sessions; including PEDx Updates addressing fetal surgery, behavior economics, embracing conflict and reducing opioids.  Our community/private practice speakers will be addressing office-based anesthesia, medico-legal updates, a refresher for providing anesthesia for cardiac patients having non-cardiac surgery, and how to launch an infant spinal program (from the surgical and anesthesia perspective).  Our research track will incorporate a variety of topics ranging from benchtop science to translational/clinical outcomes and conclude with a highly anticipated emerging research panel discussion.  We will also have a very important session addressing vaccinations and anesthesia during the afternoon.  We have an excellent and select group of workshops available for our audience in the afternoon, all of which will be 2 hours in duration this year.  Our first day will conclude with a networking cocktail reception which should wrap up by early in the evening to allow for enjoyment on the resort and island.

On Saturday morning we will hear from a surgeon who is the Director of Transformation and Growth, discussing Digital Disruption of Academic Medicine.  This will be followed by a colleague from Sydney, Australia discussing collaborative efforts utilizing near infrared spectroscopy.  Our AAP Ask the Experts session will focus on managing challenging patient behavior in the perioperative environment.  Our SPA Distinguished International Scholar from South Africa will be providing Global Anesthesia updates, including describing the SAFE Paediatric Anaesthesia course.  During our poster presentation and awards session, we will also feature our first ‘lightning abstract’ session, which will highlight and preview a handful of the top abstracts, as the authors deliver a one-minute, impactful summary on the main stage.  On Saturday afternoon we will continue our track of PEDx Updates, including discussion of the future of training programs in pediatric anesthesia, perioperative pathway management, innovative telemedicine updates, and effective coaching and mentoring.  Our community/private practice track will discuss how to convince the C-suite for staffing solutions, given by a Chief Financial Officer of a pediatric hospital.  This will be followed by updates in extubation criteria and postoperative apnea in neonates.  This session will conclude with a discussion of another ‘first,’ how a private practice anesthesia group created an anesthesiology residency program.  We will have an afternoon track focusing on professional development, with talks by a Chief Medical Officer discussing hospital leadership, in addition to speakers addressing departmental business plans, negotiations within the workplace, as well as examining diversity in anesthesia.  Our afternoon session will include a thorough discussion of the newest neuromuscular blocking reversal agent, as well as Lysosomal Storage Disease management guideline updates.  Another select group of two-hour workshops will be offered on Saturday afternoon.

I hope your flights are not booked until later in the afternoon, because on Sunday, we will have the Best Pediatric Anesthesia Research papers highlighted by prominent editors in our field.  This will be followed by our second session, which will start off with a discussion around nuances and techniques within maintenance of anesthesia.  This will be followed by a local Bahamian anesthesiologist and trainee reviewing operative cases over the past decade in the region.  We will conclude this session with a local expert discussing marine life around the island.  Our final session on Sunday will focus on Anesthesia and Economics.  We have the pleasure of hearing from a fellow anesthesiologist who used to work in the finance industry on Wall Street!

As mentioned above, all workshops will be limited to two hours and will run concurrent to the second part of the afternoon sessions.  New and returning workshops will focus on research, conflict management, ERAS, infant spinal anesthesia, regional ultrasound guided anesthesia, private practice, low fidelity simulation, women in anesthesia, ACS Children's Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program, peripheral vascular access, one-lung ventilation, quality improvement, blood management and more!

In addition to the aforementioned “lightning abstracts” session, ALL poster sessions will be moderated again this year.  This includes a case report poster session during breakfast on Saturday morning, as well as oral presentations of the award-winning abstracts and our regular moderated research poster presentations session later in the morning.

If you missed the inaugural SPA Gala (Boots & Bling) in Houston last year, be sure to get your tickets to this year’s celebration – the SPA Gala “Party on Paradise Island.” Our Saturday evening party will be VERY family friendly this year, for those of you who plan to bring others along.

We have A LOT packed into our weekend, please note our program will end earlier on Friday and Saturday afternoons than in the past, so we all can enjoy the wonderful resort and island(s) of The Bahamas- while still delivering a similar amount of CME credits as past conferences.

It has been an honor to serve as program chair for this meeting.  There have been a lot of unique challenges and ‘firsts’ of which we are very proud.  Thank you to all the planning committee members, SPA Education Committee, and SPA-AAP leadership for your time and dedication including; Nina Deutsch, Courtney Hardy, Katherine Keech, Emmett Whitaker, Lindsay Loveland-Baptist, Faith Ross, Mary Landrigan-Ossar and Kim Battle and the team at Ruggles!

Click here to find options to donate funds to aid in Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts.  Please DO NOT FORGET that a passport (valid for 6 months after your return date) is needed to travel to The Bahamas.

We hope to see you ALL there to learn, collaborate, relax and enjoy the island life!