Message from the President

By Nina Deutsch, MD
SPA President

Dr. Deutsch

Dr. Deutsch

Happy Spring!  I hope that everyone is safe and well.  As we head into the new season, I feel like we are finally seeing some progress towards a return to “normal."  More people are getting vaccinated and new cases of COVID have dropped from the astronomical highs of this past Winter.  Spring is a season of renewal, and I feel optimistic for our future!

The SPA-AAP Pediatric Anesthesiology 2021 meeting was a success!  While we would have loved to meet in person, I think we all saw that the virtual format had much to offer. True to its theme “A Celebration of Women in Pediatric Anesthesiology”, the meeting highlighted the outstanding contributions of women to our field.  Woman leaders in our field described their career journeys and how challenges and roadblocks were keys to their future success.  Early career women spoke on their various areas of clinical work and research, demonstrating that our future is in good hands. 

We honored Dr. Corrie Anderson, the recipient of the AAP Robert M. Smith Award, for his numerous contributions and achievements.  I could go on and on!  Importantly, I want to thank Drs. Emmett Whittaker and Jina Sinskey for leading an incredible meeting planning committee.  Kim Battle, Matt Carpenter and the Ruggles team went above and beyond to make the virtual format a success, and we cannot express our gratitude enough.  The entire team made this meeting one to remember.

For me, a true highlight of the meeting was the session entitled “Discussing Racial and Ethnic Diversity in SPA and Beyond.”  Led by Dr. Titilopemi Aina and her fellow moderators, this session featured an incredible panel of women who spoke on issues around race and ethnicity in their own lives and careers.  Their stories highlighted the work that we need to continue to do to address these inequities.  This is imperative not only for our colleagues but also for our patients who are affected by healthcare inequities daily. 

To that end, the SPA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has been hard at work on several projects geared towards professionals and patients.  These include outreach projects, quality improvement/research initiatives, and a new mentorship program.  I look forward to seeing the results of these efforts soon.

One thing that has become clear to me as I have taken on my role as SPA President is that many members want to become more involved in our Society but may not be sure where to start.  SPA has many committees and special interest groups (SIGs) that are dedicated to all different areas within our field.  Whatever your interest, we probably have a committee or SIG that will meet your needs! 

Committee and SIG membership provides so many opportunities for collaboration, networking, and personal growth.  Importantly, the vast majority of SPA committees and SIGs are open, meaning you can reach out to the Chair, let them know of your interest and become involved.  When we are meeting in person again, you can just show up at the committee/SIG meeting of your choice and begin participating. 

I encourage everyone to look at the options on the new SPA website.  There you will find the chairs’ contact information as well as a list of committee and SIG members.  Feel free to reach out to them, and you will be welcomed.  If you are not sure where to start, please contact me, and I am happy to connect you with other SPA members to get you on the right path.

The SPA Board of Directors will also be launching a new outreach program to connect to pediatric anesthesiologists around the world.  If this pandemic has taught us nothing, it has shown us the ability to interact virtually!  We want to be sure that all members feel welcome and a part of SPA.  We will be reaching out to small and large programs, academic centers and private practice groups, as well as programs from all geographic areas.  SPA is doing some incredible work, and we will be highlighting this as well as providing everyone information on how to get involved.  Look for more details soon!

Finally, the planning committee for the SPA 35th Annual Meeting is working to bring you another incredible meeting on October 8, 2021.  Currently, we are planning for an in-person or hybrid format.  Conditions related to the pandemic will determine our ultimate venue, and as soon as we know, we will update everyone.  I, for one, miss seeing everyone and hope that we are all together in sunny San Diego.

Thank you again for all your work and dedication to SPA.  I am always available and encourage you to reach out, whether it is to see how you can get more involved in SPA or if you have ideas, questions or concerns. 

Enjoy your Spring!

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