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The Training and Careers of Regional Anesthesia Fellows—1983-2002
  1. Joseph M. Neal, M.D.a,
  2. Dan J. Kopacz, M.D.a,
  3. Gregory A. Liguori, M.D.b,
  4. James D. Beckman, M.D.b and
  5. Mary J. Hargett, B.S.b
  1. aDepartment of Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  2. bHospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.
  1. Reprint requests: Joseph M. Neal, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, B2-AN, 1100 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101. E-mail: anejnm{at}


Background and Objectives The education and subsequent careers of regional anesthesia fellows have not been examined but may provide insight into improving future fellowship training and/or the future of the subspecialty.

Methods Regional anesthesia fellows educated during a 20-year period (1983-2002) were asked to complete a comprehensive survey that detailed their training, current professional setting, and use of regional anesthesia, and how they foresee the future of regional anesthesia. A separate survey of academic anesthesiology chairs assessed the role of and need for regional anesthesiologists in teaching departments.

Results Twelve regional anesthesia fellowship programs in the United States and Canada provided contact information on 176 former fellows. The survey response rate from those practicing in North America was 49% (77/156). Two of the 12 responding institutions have trained 68% of regional anesthesia fellows. Of respondents, 61% are or have been in academic practice. Regional anesthesia remains an integral part of most respondents' current practice, as evidenced by significant use of regional techniques, active involvement in subspecialty societies, and participation in continuing medical education programs. Academic chairs indicate that fellowship-trained regional anesthesiologists play important roles in resident education and are in demand by academic departments.

Conclusions This report details how regional anesthesia fellows from 1983 to 2002 were trained and how they currently practice and examines their insights regarding the strengths and weaknesses of past and future regional anesthesia education.

  • Regional anesthesia
  • Fellowship training
  • Medical education

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  • James P. Rathmell, M.D., served as Acting Editor-in-Chief for this manuscript.