Taking Advantage of Valuable Professional and Personal Connections

Dr. FlackBy Sean Flack, MBChB, FCA
SPA News Editor

Welcome to the Spring 2020 edition of SPANews. Writing this message transports me back to Paradise Island and the wonderful SPA-AAP meeting many of us were able to enjoy before our lives were so profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How fortunate we were to have that opportunity to learn and engage socially. It feels a long time ago now. Select session reviews of the meeting are included in this newsletter and I hope you will enjoy reading them. Congratulations to Dr. Tarun Bhalla and his organizing committee for the outstanding job they did. I know we all hope that circumstances will allow us to meet in Washington, DC in October. In collaboration with ASA, planning is well underway for all eventualities.

I would like to highlight the timely establishment of a new SPA special interest group focused on well-being. A report of their first meeting is included in this newsletter and I encourage members to contact the SIG’s organizers if you wish to be involved. Also, the Trainee SIG has provided an update of their work in the newsletter. Please help share their work with trainees and interested medical students wherever you are working.

While COVID-19 is likely uppermost in all our minds, drug overdoses and deaths continue to increase in the US. More than 130 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day and surgery can be the event that leads to addiction. In his article “You Can Do the Impossible When You Try”, Dr. Lynn Martin, a past president of SPA, highlights the work his team has done to eliminate opioids from their ambulatory surgery center. He asks “will you join us” in eliminating opioids during surgery and in recovery? Whether it is opioid reduction or some other effort, let’s all be guided by SPA’s mission statement and commit to “advance the safety and quality of anesthesia care, perioperative care, and pain management in children…” through continuous and iterative improvement.

Speaking of improvements, I am delighted to congratulate Sean Barnes, MBA, MD, (Johns Hopkins) on his appointment as chairperson of the SPA Communications Committee. Sean is a great friend and has been a fantastic member of the committee for many years. He established the SPA Trainee SIG and is an advocate for the use of social media in healthcare. I am truly excited to see the committee grow under his leadership and I hope he will allow me to continue to be involved with the committee’s work. His email is sbarne21@jhmi.edu and I encourage anyone with interest to reach out to Sean with your ideas for improving communication and continuous learning.

Thank you for reading the newsletter. I hope you enjoy it and are reminded that we have an amazing community within the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia. During these tough times, please take advantage of the professional and personal connections that reside within SPA. Our website offers many fabulous resources, including COVID-19 material. I would also highly recommend the WELI website to everyone.

In closing, here are some wellness tips shared on social media by the wonderful Sasha Shillcutt, MD, (@RUBraveEnough):

  • Get outside/sit in window with sunshine for 15 minutes
  • Do work meaningful for you
  • Avoid numbing (too much Netflix, for example). Treatment is to reset
  • Have good sleep hygiene (prep for bed, no electronic devices)
  • Community: be honest with others and ask for help
  • Move your body daily


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