Getting To Know The Editorial Board (Past Editions)

Jens Borglum (September 2021)

Dr. Børglum is an associate professor and consultant anesthetist in the anesthesiology and intensive care medicine department at Zealand University Hospital and in the department of clinical medicine, faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
I love the procedures! I did my PhD before starting my specialist training, and I remember an Editorial Board meeting in 2015 where I was all excited about having intubated my first patient the previous week. It drew a few laughs and surprised looks, but mostly smiles. Nonetheless, I still get excited about the procedures, the view on the ultrasound when you get that perfect spread of local anesthetics, a smooth fiber optic intubation, the sensation when you feel the IV accesses slip into the vessels, and the LOR when you place an epidural. The more difficult it is, the more exciting. That gives me a kick!

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
It was at the ASRA Fall Meeting in Phoenix in 2013, where I was in the beginning of my PhD. I had just given my lecture as one of the “Best of Abstract” winners, when [then editor-in-chief] Marc Huntoon approached me afterwards and asked if I wanted to come on board as a reviewer for RAPM. I was honored and accepted the invitation. However, a few days later, when the official invitation arrived in my inbox, Marc offered to promote me to an associate editor, and that’s how it all started. I was a bit nervous when reviewing in the beginning, spending a lot of time on my assignments, but as I am still on board, I guess I did it alright. That ASRA meeting really kickstarted my career, and I am very grateful to Marc Huntoon for placing so much trust in a young scientist.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
Definitely! My work with RAPM has introduced me to a lot of amazing people, resulted in research collaborations, and given me work opportunities, both abroad and at home. I have also learned a great deal. Closely reviewing all those manuscripts has increased my ability to fast and critically read research papers, which not only means that I’ve become a better researcher, but I believe it has also made me a better doctor.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal… advice for writing good articles or maybe a pet peeve you wish authors wouldn’t do?
Some people have a way with words, and for others it comes a little harder. In my opinion, however, writing up a research paper is not like writing a novel; it is more like a recipe you have to follow. For example, when writing a manuscript for a randomized controlled trial, you have to adhere to the CONSORT statement. If it is your first manuscript, make sure to go through the checklist, assuring that all the essential items are covered. During the last few years, it is evident that authors are getting more and more familiar with these guidelines, but one of my pet peeves that I still frequently encounter is about p-values. The p-value tells us nothing about the effectiveness of a treatment, which is why the estimated effect size and its precision should always be reported, including in the abstracts (it’s a CONSORT check point!).

What has been your proudest career moment?
I have been very lucky to have a fantastic mentor, Dr. Jørgen B. Dahl as my PhD supervisor, and a novel project for my PhD. As a consequence, I have been blessed with many proud moments related to research early on in my career: winning a few abstracts awards, working for RAPM, serving as the trainee representative on the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy Board. My proudest moment must be my PhD and my doctorial defense, where you finally get to present your hard work from the previous years.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today?
In my opinion, there are still lots of challenges in the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine. With our ultrasound machines getting cheaper and faster, we have revolutionized the field of regional anesthesia and nerve blocks for chronic pain. Nonetheless, regional anesthesia is still limited by the relatively short duration of our local anesthetics, the effectiveness of our catheters, and, often, the concomitant motor block. It’s been a long time since we had a real breakthrough with a new anesthetic drug, but I hope this will change soon.

What one word would you say describes you?
I believe I am determined, but I guess my husband would just call me stubborn…

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
I am a family person and I love spending time with my husband and our two daughters. We have a summer cabin where we spend most weekends doing sports, playing table games, talking, reading, building stuff, or just watching movies. I love doing sports, but between work, research, taking the kids to their sports activities, and occasionally seeing my friends, all I have time for at the moment, is running. Growing up, I always thought running was really boring, but now I enjoy the mental break it gives me, the fresh air, and the muscle soreness afterwards.

Balavenkata J. Subramanian (October 2021)

Balavenkata J. Subramanian, MD, DA, is chief of the department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care and academic director of the Ganga Medical Centre & Hospital in Coimbatore, India.


What do you consider your primary specialty and what led you to choose this?
I am a regional anesthesiologist involved in perioperative care of all my patients, including those in the Acute Pain Service. Our hospital is a 65-bed tertiary-care referral center for trauma, orthopedics, reconstructive microvascular surgery, plastic surgery, brachial plexus reconstructive surgery, and burns.

We have been practicing “on arrival” blocks for all our trauma patients since 2002. Every trauma patient receives an ultrasound-guided block immediately on arrival, 24 hours a day. We have the presence of a senior consultant anesthesiologist at all times. The sequence of our care for trauma victims is primary survey, resuscitation, ultrasound-guided blocks, point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS), and secondary survey. In fact, X-rays are done only after making the limb numb; otherwise, it would be very painful for the patient when X-rays are performed in different positions. Anesthesiologists perform POCUS, and decisions on laparotomy in abdominal injuries are based on anesthesiologists’ findings rather than waiting for a radiologist.

What do you like best about your job?
The best thing about my job is complete patient care in the perioperative period. The surgeon is engaged in the surgery, drain removal, and ambulation protocol. All the rest is done by anesthesiologists,from the pre-anesthesia assessment, to prehabilitation, psychological counseling, intraoperative care, postoperative care in the High Dependency Unit in the immediate postoperative period, regular ward rounds, and a role in discharge advice.

It is so rewarding to see the patient who came in critically injured, walking back home with a smile. More importantly, it excites us all when patients thank the anesthesiologists as profoundly as they thank the surgeons.

The next thing that excites us is training young anesthesiologists. We train 60 anesthesiologists every year through our postdoctoral fellowships of 6-month and 12-month durations. We also have 12 postgraduate seats every year in anesthesia affiliated with our National Board of Exams, called the DNB, which is equivalent to the MD in the United States. The JOY OF SHARING excites us!

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
My first connection with the journal was when I shadowed Dr. Manbir Batra, president of ASRA in 1999, who was at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA. He introduced me to ASRA and the journal. I became an associate member and started receiving the Journal.

I also did Acute Pain Service rounds with Dr. Joseph Neal, where I was amazed at the quality of postoperative pain relief. They both instigated the fire to learn and effectively deliver regional anesthesia. This led to me starting the Aesculap Academy Regional Anesthesia Guidance Centre, the educational wing of B. Braun at our hospital. We started training five anesthesiologists every month from across India and neighboring countries. Until COVID struck us, we had trained 1,447 anesthesiologists through this program. I felt very happy when I could join with five of my colleagues (Drs. TVS Gopal, Vrushali Ponde, Sandeep Diwan, Satish Kulkarni, and Ashish Mehta) in India who were regional anesthesia enthusiasts to start the Academy of Regional Anesthesia of India. I am happy to share that this became the premier source for teaching safe regional anesthesia practice in India. We have one national conference every year and conduct several hands-on workshops across the country. In 2011, we started with six members, and now we have more than 1,800 life members.

Two more important milestones that I want to share:

  1. The postdoctoral fellowship in regional anesthesia affiliated with our Medical University began in 2012 and was the first in India. It is a one-year program.
  2. The WFSA Ganga Hospital Regional Anesthesia Fellowship started in 2014. The Educational Committee of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) makes the selection, and we train four anesthesiologists every year from Asia Pacific and Africa. So far, we have trained 22 anesthesiologists from 18 countries.
    We used to send anesthesiologists from our hospital for medical missions in Rwanda to support Rotary. This is when our team met Dr. Nyandwi in Kigali. He expressed his desire to come to Ganga to learn regional anesthesia. We were happy to train him for 6 months at Ganga Hospital. Our only request when he completed the training was to kindly become a teacher and teach every anesthesiologist in Rwanda on the safe practice of regional anesthesia. He has done a great job. Thanks to Dr. Nyandwi for helping preach regional anesthesia in Rwanda!

This amazing journey into regional anesthesia all started on a particular day when I met Dr. Manbir Batra and Dr. Joseph Neal in 1999, and from the knowledge I gained from RAPM.

How has your work with RAPM had an impact on your career?
RAPM has been my mentor and guide since 1999. When regional anesthesia was not taught in medical schools two decades ago, it was RAPM that gave me and my colleagues appropriate insights into safe conduct of regional anesthesia. I am indebted to RAPM for all my learning in regional anesthesia.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
Being a part of the editorial board is a great learning experience. We grow more as we read more. We get fascinated by creative ideas and innovative writing. It truly helps us to grow holistically and practice evidence-based medicine. So, being an Editorial Board member is a true GIFT, it enriches us profoundly.


What advice do you have for authors submitting articles to the journal?

There are several facets of regional anesthesia that need to be deciphered. We need input from every nook and cranny of the world about experiences with regional anesthesia. To equate regional anesthesia with general anesthesia in every aspect would take a long time. But this time can be minimized if more authors share their experiences with the world by generating good articles.

What has been your proudest career moment?
I have a few I’d like to mention:

  • When a patient smiles at you in the immediate postoperative period after undergoing a major surgery, thanks to regional analgesia as a part of multimodal analgesia.
    Becoming the founding president of the Academy of Regional Anaesthesia (AORA) of India.
  • Serving as the current president of the Asian Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine, and trying to spread the importance of regional anesthesia in member countries.
    Serving as an editorial board member of the most prestigious journal of regional anesthesia in the world … RAPM.
  • When we conducted the 2019 AORA India National Conference in Coimbatore with more than 1,700 delegates from 42 countries and more than 38 international faculty members, Professor Narinder Rawal from Sweden said, “This is one of the best regional anesthesia conferences that I have ever attended,” and Professor Vincent Chan from Canada said, ”An amazing meeting of high standards.”
  • When the surgeon acknowledges our work and tells the nervous patient, “Do not worry, we have very good anesthesiologists who will nullify your pain after the surgery through their magic injections.” It is truly gratifying to be an anesthesiologist and help people when they need us the most to alleviate their pain and suffering.
  • Becoming a member of the Educational Committee of the WFSA.
  • Taking the responsibility of chair of the regional anesthesia track at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists (WCA) 2021.
  • Being appointed chairman of the Scientific Committee of the National Conference of Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists (ISACON) in 2002, when I was just 37 years old.
  • Delivering the most prestigious anesthesia oration of India, the “Dr. Venkat Rao Memorial Oration” at ISACON 2014 (my oration topic was “Leadership in Anesthesia: Challenges and Solutions”).
  • Last, but not least, getting invited to serve as a faculty member at the ASRA World Congress in New York City in 2018, two decades after starting my journey in regional anesthesia in the same country – the USA.

Pia Jaeger (November 2021)

Pia Jæger, MD, PhD, DMSc, is a senior registrar in the department of Pediatric and Obstetric Anesthesia at the University of Copenhagen in Rigshospitalet, Denmark.


What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
I love the procedures! I did my PhD before starting my specialist training, and I remember an Editorial Board meeting in 2015 where I was all excited about having intubated my first patient the previous week. It drew a few laughs and surprised looks, but mostly smiles. Nonetheless, I still get excited about the procedures, the view on the ultrasound when you get that perfect spread of local anesthetics, a smooth fiber optic intubation, the sensation when you feel the IV accesses slip into the vessels, and the LOR when you place an epidural. The more difficult it is, the more exciting. That gives me a kick!

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
It was at the ASRA Fall Meeting in Phoenix in 2013, where I was in the beginning of my PhD. I had just given my lecture as one of the “Best of Abstract” winners, when [then editor-in-chief] Marc Huntoon approached me afterwards and asked if I wanted to come on board as a reviewer for RAPM. I was honored and accepted the invitation. However, a few days later, when the official invitation arrived in my inbox, Marc offered to promote me to an associate editor, and that’s how it all started. I was a bit nervous when reviewing in the beginning, spending a lot of time on my assignments, but as I am still on board, I guess I did it alright. That ASRA meeting really kickstarted my career, and I am very grateful to Marc Huntoon for placing so much trust in a young scientist.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
Definitely! My work with RAPM has introduced me to a lot of amazing people, resulted in research collaborations, and given me work opportunities, both abroad and at home. I have also learned a great deal. Closely reviewing all those manuscripts has increased my ability to fast and critically read research papers, which not only means that I’ve become a better researcher, but I believe it has also made me a better doctor.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal… advice for writing good articles or maybe a pet peeve you wish authors wouldn’t do?
Some people have a way with words, and for others it comes a little harder. In my opinion, however, writing up a research paper is not like writing a novel; it is more like a recipe you have to follow. For example, when writing a manuscript for a randomized controlled trial, you have to adhere to the CONSORT statement. If it is your first manuscript, make sure to go through the checklist, assuring that all the essential items are covered. During the last few years, it is evident that authors are getting more and more familiar with these guidelines, but one of my pet peeves that I still frequently encounter is about p-values. The p-value tells us nothing about the effectiveness of a treatment, which is why the estimated effect size and its precision should always be reported, including in the abstracts (it’s a CONSORT check point!).

What has been your proudest career moment?
I have been very lucky to have a fantastic mentor, Dr. Jørgen B. Dahl as my PhD supervisor, and a novel project for my PhD. As a consequence, I have been blessed with many proud moments related to research early on in my career: winning a few abstracts awards, working for RAPM, serving as the trainee representative on the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy Board. My proudest moment must be my PhD and my doctorial defense, where you finally get to present your hard work from the previous years.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today?
In my opinion, there are still lots of challenges in the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine. With our ultrasound machines getting cheaper and faster, we have revolutionized the field of regional anesthesia and nerve blocks for chronic pain. Nonetheless, regional anesthesia is still limited by the relatively short duration of our local anesthetics, the effectiveness of our catheters, and, often, the concomitant motor block. It’s been a long time since we had a real breakthrough with a new anesthetic drug, but I hope this will change soon.

What one word would you say describes you?
I believe I am determined, but I guess my husband would just call me stubborn…

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
I am a family person and I love spending time with my husband and our two daughters. We have a summer cabin where we spend most weekends doing sports, playing table games, talking, reading, building stuff, or just watching movies. I love doing sports, but between work, research, taking the kids to their sports activities, and occasionally seeing my friends, all I have time for at the moment, is running. Growing up, I always thought running was really boring, but now I enjoy the mental break it gives me, the fresh air, and the muscle soreness afterwards.

Mario Conceicao (December 2021)

Mario Conceicao, MD, MSc, PhD is a professor of Surgical Techniques and Anesthesiology at Blumenau University Foundation and Joana de Gusmao Children Hospital in Florianopolis/Blumenau, Brazil.




What is your specialty?

I am dedicated to pediatric regional anesthesia and postoperative pediatric pain management.

What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
What still makes me excited during all these years is the opportunity to help and give some comfort to suffering children and the chance to share what I have learned with my fellow students.

How did you get involved with the journal?
A dear friend, José Carlos Carvalho, MD, PhD, introduced me to ASRA and RAPM, encouraging me to apply for the RAPM Editorial Board.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career?
Absolutely. It has stimulated me to explore regional anesthesia as an important tool which can impact clinical practice. Being a member of the RAPM Editorial Board was and is an excellent way to improve my critical reading of scientific papers.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
I would not be comfortable giving advice, but, in my opinion, it is a superb opportunity for serving a great journal, improving my scientific papers reading skills, and collaborating to better share science.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
Pay major attention to the journal’s Guide for Authors. Develop good method projects and present them in detail, with special attention to ethical issues. Clearly present the hypothesis and objectives. Avoid opinions not based on the results. The conclusion should match with the objectives.

What has been your proudest career moment?
I am proud of be part of this profession, to serve as an Editorial Board Member of RAPM, to have served as an Editor-in-Chief of the Brazilian Journal of Anesthesiology (BJAn), and to continue providing medical assistance and teaching as best as I can, knowing and trying to overcome my human limitations.

Alex Sideris (January 2022)

Alexandra Sideris, PhD, is the C.V. Starr director of Pain Research at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York, NY.

Do you consider yourself primarily a regional anesthesiologist, an acute pain practitioner, or a chronic pain specialist (or some combination of these)? What led you to choose this specialty?
I am not a clinician but have a background and interest in chronic and acute pain. My doctoral degree is in basic neuroscience, where I studied the endocannabinoid system in the spinal cord. I transitioned to studying the neurobiology of pain in animal models of neuropathic pain during my postdoctoral studies in the anesthesiology department at NYU Langone Medical Center under the tutelage of Dr. Thomas Blanck. I was fascinated with endocannabinoid signaling and realized how integral the system is to learning, affect, neurodevelopment, nociception, and analgesia. During my postdoctoral work at NYU, I also contributed to numerous other studies focused on characterizing pain behaviors in rodents and identifying neurobiological changes in various tissues associated with these pain behaviors. I eventually transitioned to clinical research at HSS by accepting a clinical research associate position in the department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care & Pain Management where I worked alongside our regional anesthesiologists to help develop research protocols and facilitate study procedures. I was then promoted to assistant director of the research and managed a research team of over 10 staff. I was subsequently appointed to director of Pain Research, supported by the CV Starr Foundation.

What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
The creative process motivates me every day. As any biomedical researcher would assert, my ultimate goal is to enhance patient care and improve quality of life through well-designed, novel studies. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with dedicated, incredibly bright, and creative clinician scientists and administrators who invest so much of their time to their practice and its refinement. They, as well as the patients and budding researchers, motivate me to collaborate and innovate.

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
I started reviewing for the journal back in 2014 when I was appointed to instructor in the anesthesiology department at NYU Langone. The manuscripts I reviewed were exclusively basic science oriented, but as soon as I transitioned to clinical research at HSS, I was assigned to review manuscripts with a clinical focus to help hone my skills in the areas that I wished to develop as a researcher. I was appointed to the editorial board in 2019.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
My work with RAPM as a reviewer and editor has had a significant impact on my career. In addition to having the honor of being one of the first to learn about another researcher’s novel findings, I also have the immense responsibility of assessing the soundness of the study design, methodology and conclusions of the work to uphold the rigor of the scientific process. The review process also helped my critical thinking, which has affected multiple facets of my daily work.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
My experience with RAPM has been excellent. By serving on an editorial board, you network with the top researchers in the country, you ensure the scientific integrity of research findings entering the public domain, and you can help shape the future of a field.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
My advice for writing good articles: have an interesting research question and keep the writing cogent and concise!

What has been your proudest career moment?
Every milestone in my career has been incredibly fulfilling. I am the first woman in my family to have earned a doctoral degree and to have progressed so far professionally; however, the proudest moment in my career has been my appointment as director of Pain Research at HSS. Even though I always intended to work in a clinical/translational research setting, it was still a very difficult decision to transition away from bench science. When I joined the department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care & Pain Management at Hospital for Special Surgery, I was embraced and given the opportunity to use all my transferable skills to successfully support a very large, prolific clinical research team. I am incredibly humbled and excited to have the opportunity to help shape pain management research in the top orthopedic hospital in the country!

What one word would you say describes you?
Tenacious

Tina Doshi (February 2022)

Tina Doshi, MD, MHS, is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

Do you consider yourself primarily a regional anesthesiologist, an acute pain practitioner, or a chronic pain specialist (or some combination of these)? What led you to choose this specialty?
I’m a chronic pain specialist. I went into medicine because I felt it was the best way to use my own skills and interests to alleviate the suffering of others. I chose specifically to become a pain physician because, to me, no specialty speaks more directly to how medicine can alleviate human suffering than pain management.

What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
I love the variety. I get to do a little bit of everything (clinic, procedures, research, writing, teaching, taking classes), but it’s all in service of the same mission: to improve lives through pain medicine. I’m never bored because every day is different. There are so many opportunities for gratification, so even on days when I feel like my research is stalling or my patients are particularly challenging, I can still feel good about things like crafting the perfect sentence in a manuscript, placing the needle in the exact right spot, or seeing a patient whose pain has improved in my care.

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
Mark Bicket and I wrote a Daring Discourse in RAPM in 2018. At the time, RAPM was one of the few anesthesiology/pain journals that offered a venue for unique perspectives or commentary, and I felt like the whole process was thorough, professional, and expeditious. I’ve submitted and published in RAPM a few more times since then, and it has always positive experience. It speaks a lot to the management of the journal and dedication to its mission. I’d also been an ad hoc reviewer for RAPM for a few years, and two of the current executive editors (Drs. Steven P. Cohen and Anahi Perlas) encouraged me to apply for the Editorial Board.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
Absolutely. Peer reviewing is an interesting and unique way to contribute to advancing the field, and it’s also a wonderful learning opportunity. I get to see novel approaches and interesting cases, and I have to think critically about methodology, data interpretation, and clinical relevance with every review. Being a reviewer, and reading comments from other reviewers, has helped be become a better scientist.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
Show up! Recognize that one of the hardest tasks for senior editors is to find good reviewers to volunteer their time and expertise. Submitting work to the journal, whether it’s a review, case report, letter, commentary, or original research, demonstrates that you have the motivation, communication, and critical thinking skills to be a good reviewer. Also, if you have a mentor who currently does reviews, ask if they can suggest you as a reviewer.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
Before you submit, it’s helpful to have your article read by someone who wasn’t involved in the study. Many universities have scientific reviewing/editing services, but even just having a mentor or colleague read through it can ensure that you are communicating your ideas clearly. It also helps to minimize my pet peeve as a reviewer: typos and grammatical errors that make it obvious that the authors didn’t read through their own manuscripts before submitting!

What has been your proudest career moment?
I think my career is still a little too early to have a good perspective on a “proudest career moment” just yet. However, a recent proud moment was when I saw one of my articles referenced in the explanation for an ABA MOCA Minute question!

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today?
From a scientific perspective, one of the biggest challenges is applying a precision medicine approach to pain medicine—that is, ensuring the right diagnosis, the best treatment, or the most accurate prognosis for any given pain patient, every time. That’s really hard when we don’t have validated biomarkers for pain. From a specialty-level perspective, our biggest challenge is to recruit and retain a robust, healthy, fulfilled, and diverse pain medicine workforce to care for our patients and advance the science over the coming decades. That means identifying and removing the barriers that cause burnout or lead people to choose alternate fields.

What one word would you say describes you?
Sensible

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
Cooking and baking. It can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be, and you’re taking these ingredients, which may not be all that exciting on their own, then manipulating and combining them in ways to create something completely different and exciting. Also, everyone’s gotta eat, so might as well craft food worth eating!

Steve Orebaugh (March 2022)

Dr. Steven L. Orebaugh is a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania. He serves as a staff anesthesiologist, co-chair of the Curriculum Committee for Residency, and rotation director for the Regional Anesthesia Rotation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)-Presbyterian/Montefiore.

Image of Steven Orebaugh

Do you consider yourself primarily a regional anesthesiologist, an acute pain practitioner, or a chronic pain specialist (or some combination of these)? What led you to choose this specialty?
I am a regional anesthesiologist, and most of my cases involve ambulatory orthopedics. When I first graduated from residency, I worked for UPMC at a small urban hospital that they’d adopted just before I arrived. It was a very general type of practice, with very little regional anesthesia. Within five years, the sports orthopedic surgical service shifted to our facility, and regional anesthesia became a daily aspect of my life. Drs. Brian Williams and Michael Kentor helped me to sharpen my skills with nerve stimulation and landmark-guided peripheral nerve blockade. Within a few years, ultrasound became available, and this really drew me in and helped me become more interested in both block safety and education in regional anesthesia.

What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
A whole list of things:
• Interacting with the people I work with
• Training our residents
• Helping to control patients’ pain
• Ushering patients safely through surgery
• Using ultrasound imaging to facilitate nerve block placement.

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
Originally, I started writing articles for ASRA News, then found myself assisting Ed Mariano (who was editor at that time) with some of the editorial duties and recruiting other authors. I also had a few manuscripts published in RAPM and then was asked to perform some peer review for the journal. Over time, my involvement increased, and I was asked to be a part of the editorial board. This was a very proud moment for me, as I think it’s a terrific journal, and we’ve had a string of truly outstanding editors.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
Unquestionably. Reviewing has improved my understanding of the research process, has sharpened my writing, and has facilitated better interpretation of the medical literature.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
Request to be a reviewer. Editors are often looking for clinicians or academicians to help with the peer review process. If you perform this thoughtfully and in timely fashion, you’ll get more articles to review. In time, you may be asked to have a formal position on the editorial board.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
Spend some time with the “Instructions for Authors.” Journals vary in their expectations and requirements. This may save you a rejection of an otherwise laudable article.

What has been your proudest career moment?
I’ve received a few teaching awards from our residents. Of all the things that make me feel good about what I do, this has probably been the most satisfying and fulfilling aspect of my career.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today?
Probably the explosion of block types, particularly plane blocks, often with subtle variations of each, but an immature literature to provide solid evidence that would help anesthesiologists choose the best version of the block and the best dose of local anesthetic for their particular patient. Over time, I think the literature will catch up. It does provide a lot of opportunities for investigation!

What one word would you say describes you?
Energetic, I suppose.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
I have a few hobbies and past times: Gardening, woodworking, exercise (running and swimming), walking my little dogs. I also enjoy writing, and I have just had a novel published: “The Stairs on Billy Buck Hill,” (Sunbury Press, Boiling Spring, PA). The story is a tragic tale of an anesthesiologist who falls under the influence of opioids and loses all that he holds dear, including his career and his relationships. Eventually, he discovers an arduous path to redemption that allows him an opportunity to rebuild his shattered life.

Dan Larach (April 2022)

Dan Larach MD, MSTR, MA, is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN.

What do you like best about your job?
My favorite part of academic clinical practice is teaching medical students, residents, and fellows about pain medicine.

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
My mentor Chad Brummett suggested that I start reviewing manuscripts and was kind enough to send a few to me when I was an anesthesiology resident. After serving as an ad hoc reviewer for several years, I applied for a position on the editorial board last year.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
Very much so! Reviewing the work that is submitted to RAPM has made me a better reader and interpreter of the literature in our field. It has also helped me improve my own research.

What has been your proudest career moment?
Seeing the pain fellows at USC and Vanderbilt develop into skilled pain physicians over the course of their fellowships.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
Spending time with my wife and keeping up with our toddler!

Christopher L. Wu (May 2022)

Christopher L. Wu, MD, is a clinical professor of anesthesiology and director of clinical research at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY.

What is your primary specialty, and why did you choose it?
I consider myself a regional anesthesiologist and acute pain medicine practitioner.  I was fortunate enough to have wonderful mentors in this area during residency which led me to subspecialize in these areas.  Although I have had many mentors, the ones that shaped my career in these areas were Dr. Frederick Perkins from the University of Rochester and Dr. Srinivasa Raja from Johns Hopkins.

What do you like best about your job?
Clinically, working at the Hospital for Special Surgery (US News World Report ranked #1 orthopedic hospital for 12 years in a row) where the vast majority of anesthetics are performed under regional anesthesia, the most exciting and challenging part of my work is that my regional anesthetics have to work close to 100% of the time and need to be performed in the same amount of time as a general anesthetic even when working with trainees. Academically, I feel fortunate to work under an exceptional chair, Dr Gregory Liguori, who has created a unique blend between academics and private practice to allow researchers like myself to research clinical questions in the hopes of improving care for our patients. (Please see our departmental research brochure for examples of our research.)

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
One of my earlier publications was published in Regional Anesthesia (which was what the journal was called back then). At that time, the issues of anticoagulation and epidural analgesia was a very timely topic and my mentor Dr. Frederick Perkins suggested performing a chart review on our patients which we published in Regional Anesthesia. Dr. Terre Horlocker, who is an internationally recognized expert in the topic, wrote a very nice editorial for our article.

How has your work with RAPM had an impact on your career?
ASRA and RAPM have been an integral part of the development of my career from publications to invited lectures at the annual meeting. Certainly, my publications in RAPM and the friendships I have made at ASRA Pain Medicine have been an important reason that I am where I am today.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
The editor-in-chief, Dr. Brian Sites, has taken a great deal of initiative in getting new people involved and to promote diversity for the journal. Publishing articles is important as a start in ultimately serving on an editorial board as it not only helps you get noticed but also helps you understand the editorial process.  Journals always can use more reviewers so it also helps to ask to become a reviewer for a journal.  As long as you complete a thoughtful review in a timely fashion, your chance of becoming a member of the Editorial Board increases significantly.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
I think it is difficult particularly when you start off to understand that a rejection from a journal (any journal) is not personal even though it may feel like it.  If you look at the journal statistics for most of the top anesthesiology and pain journals, you will realize that most of the top journal typically reject over 70% if not more of the articles submitted.  It is important to get a feel for what a journal will take and understand the ranking of journals – this will help you decide which journal you realistically have a shot at.  I usually aim to submit to a journal one level higher than I think it will ultimately get in.  I always strive to be collegial in my reviews and, I almost always accept the editor’s decision.  The editor is unlikely to change their mind if you send a letter disputing their decision, but there is nothing wrong with asking for clarification if there is a point you are uncertain about.

What has been your proudest career moment?
My proudest career moment is a tie between my publication on epidural analgesia in JAMA and being promoted to full professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine at the age of 44.  Both were the cumulation of a great deal of hard work and some luck.

What is the biggest challenge facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today?
With the financial constraints on healthcare today, which have been exacerbated with the onset of COVID, one of the biggest challenges facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today is to show our colleagues, payors, and patients what added value we provide to them.  We can do this in part through our research, but our research needs to evolve to meet these challenges.  For instance, performing a study that shows that a block can decrease pain and opioid consumption in 24 hours may have been good enough 15-20 years ago, but it is inadequate today – we need to incorporate more patient-centered outcomes over longer time periods.

What one word would you say describes you?
Dedicated

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
I enjoy living in and exploring New York City.  It really is a treat living here – I can eat whatever type of food I want at almost any time and can enjoy world class amenities at my fingertips.  For instance, I can walk or take the subway to the Museum of Modern Art or the Metropolitan Museum of Art and sit to enjoy a few paintings that I like at any time.

Jan Hugo Machteld Van Zundert (June 2022)

Jan Hugo Machteld Van Zundert, MD, PhD, FIPP, is a professor in pain medicine at Maastricht University Medical Center in Maastricht, Netherlands, and Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg in Lanaken/Genk, Belgium.

Do you consider yourself primarily a regional anesthesiologist, an acute pain practitioner, or a chronic pain specialist (or some combination of these)? What led you to choose this specialty?
A chronic pain specialist.

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
I learned to know RAPM through interesting publications. As member of ESRA I have access to the journal and consult the table of content every month. I already have several publications in RAPM.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
RAPM has become a leading journal in Pain Medicine

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
Just do it.

What has been your proudest career moment?
PhD defense and my appointment as full professor in Pain Medicine in University Medical Center of Maastricht

George A. Kelley (July 2022)

George A. Kelley, DA, FACSM, is a professor and the director of the Meta-Analytic Research Group in the School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, at Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, West Virginia University, in Morgantown. Dr. Kelley serves as Statistical Advisor for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses for the journal.

What do you like best about your job?
The fact that I work in an academic setting at a Carnegie I institution is what excites me most about my job.

How did you get involved with the journal?
On March 2, 2021, the current Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Brian Sites, via Dr. Matt Davis, reached out to me and invited me to serve as a Statistical Advisor for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses for RAPM. I gladly accepted.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
The experience I have had reviewing systematic reviews, with and without meta-analysis, for RAPM has made me a better reviewer as well as a better researcher as it pertains to my own systematic review and meta-analytic research. This experience also has translated to my teaching as I can point out to students some of the common pitfalls of those submitting their own systematic review and meta-analytic work.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
From my perspective, the best advice that I can give to others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals is to try and do the very best job that they can and be sincere, honest, objective, and open to alternative opinions and ideas.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
From the perspective of systematic reviews, with or without meta-analysis, the four most important suggestions that I would have for those submitting articles to RAPM are to

  • Follow the author instructions explicitly.
  • Adhere to the current reporting guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA, etc.).
  • Involve, as a co-author, someone with specific, up-to-date expertise on systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
  • Provide strong justification for why their systematic review, with or without meta-analysis, is needed if previous and similar reviews on their topic exist.

What has been your proudest career moment?
While there are numerous, I think my proudest career moment is when I received my first NIH-R01 grant (R01 HL56893-01) as a Principal Investigator back in 1998 for my own systematic review and meta-analytic research.  My second proudest moment is when I received the Outstanding Researcher and Scholar Award from the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center in 2018.

Rodney A. Gabriel (August 2022)

Rodney A. Gabriel, MD, MAS, is an associate professor of anesthesiology, associate adjunct professor of biomedical informatics, chief of the division of Regional Anesthesia, clinical director of anesthesiology at the Koman Outpatient Pavilion Ambulatory Surgery Center, and director of the division of Perioperative Informatics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

Do you consider yourself primarily a regional anesthesiologist, an acute pain practitioner, or a chronic pain specialist (or some combination of these)? What led you to choose this specialty?
I do a combination of all three, although I was initially trained in a regional anesthesia fellowship back in 2015. Since then, I have mainly been involved with the clinical and research aspects of regional anesthesia. UCSD eventually started a dedicated Acute Pain Service, which manages all aspects of postoperative pain in various surgical populations. Over the last few years, I have started applying regional anesthesia concepts into the chronic pain realm, where I perform outpatient ultrasound-guided nerve blocks, cryoneurolysis, and peripheral neuromodulation in patients in our chronic pain clinic.

What do you like best about your job?
My favorite aspect of my job is how diverse you can develop your career in an academic environment. There is not one thing that excites me the most, but rather, the combination of all of it. Being around the right social environments, mentorship, and collaborators, it is exciting to be constantly involved with new research ideas, clinical projects, and trainees. I spend a good portion of my days doing a combination of research, clinical work, education, and administrative work. While some days one component can be very exhausting, it all balances out. Even within each component, there is further diversity. For example, in research, I have a passion for biomedical informatics as well as pain research. For clinical work, I spend time doing acute pain, regional anesthesia, chronic pain, or operating room anesthesia. For education, I spend time making lectures and teaching residents and fellows. Finally, for administrative work, I spend time running a Perioperative Informatics lab, an outpatient surgery center, and a Regional Anesthesia Division.

How did you get involved with the journal?
I first started becoming familiar with the journal back in 2015 when I was a regional anesthesia fellow. My regional anesthesia mentor, Dr. Brian Ilfeld, first introduced me to the world of clinical trial research and taught me a lot about RAPM and the types of papers it publishes. I began to slowly submit papers to the journal and serve as a guest reviewer. Eventually, I applied to become part of the Editorial Board and here I am today!

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
It is always an educational experience to be an active editorial board member for RAPM. We constantly review projects from all over the world related to regional anesthesia, acute pain, and chronic pain. To be able to first-hand read about and critique a diverse group of researchers’ ideas is exciting. It helps me better understand both basic and advanced concepts. It gives me ideas and inspirations for what to do better next time or what not to do. Being an active reviewer definitely helps with the maturation process of becoming a better academic anesthesiologist.

Ellen M. Soffin (September 2022)

Ellen M. Soffin, MD, PhD, is an anesthesiologist and director of the Anesthesia-Spine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NY.

Ellen M. Soffin

What is your primary specialty and what led you to choose it?
I am a regional anesthesiologist. I spend most of my clinical time caring for patients undergoing spine surgery, and I lead our Anesthesia-Spine Service. In residency, I was planning to pursue an intensive care fellowship, but I completed an elective rotation at Hospital for Special Surgery, and it changed my life. I saw the power of regional anesthesia to optimize patient experience, safety, and outcomes in ways that other anesthetic techniques do not. I am also committed to research, and regional anesthesiology offers the opportunity to answer some of the most fascinating – and pressing – questions in the field of anesthesia.

What do you like best about your job? What gets you excited about going to work?
The pace of development and the range of interventions we can offer to patients to improve outcomes is unparalleled in our subspeciality. For example, 7 years ago when I started in practice, patients undergoing complex spine surgery pretty much received opioid monotherapy for postoperative analgesia and the recovery trajectory was slow and difficult. Now we offer field and fascial plane blocks, comprehensive multimodal analgesia and care for patients under procedure-specific enhanced recovery pathways. It’s a rewarding experience when a patient wakes up after an all-day spine case without pain and engages in an interactive conversation with me on the way to the postanesthesia care unit. I can’t wait to see how our specialty will evolve next.

How and when did you get involved with the journal?
I don’t know if he knows this, but I would not be a board member were it not for past Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Marc Huntoon. Dr. Huntoon presented Grand Rounds to our department in 2017, and he spoke so eloquently and passionately about the journal and the importance of the work that I wanted to be part of it. I contributed as a reviewer for approximately two years and was appointed as an associate editor in January 2020.

Do you feel that your work with RAPM has had an impact on your career and if so, how?
Undoubtedly yes. I learn something new every time I review a paper, partly from the work itself but also by reading the final decisions and comments from my co-reviewers. Over time this has significantly improved my own research skills with respect to design, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials and retrospective studies. The other positive benefit has been the opportunity to work and network with other board members. Most of the best and brightest minds in our subspecialty are on this board and affiliated with the journal. It’s an ongoing privilege to collaborate with and learn from these thought leaders.

What advice do you have for others interested in getting involved with serving on the editorial board of scientific journals?
Reviewing is a skill. It takes time and practice, but like any skill, it can be developed.

Is there anything you’d like to tell authors submitting articles to the journal?
Don’t make the reviewers work to understand the fundamentals. Try to convey “Why this is interesting” and “Why this is important” succinctly and early in the paper. I try not have pet peeves, because most things can be improved during the peer review process. However, I react negatively when the conclusions don’t follow logically from the results – especially when small statistical/clinical effects are overinterpreted or overstated.

What has been your proudest career moment?
Being invited to join the faculty at Hospital for Special Surgery.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the field of regional anesthesia and pain medicine today?
Regional techniques are increasingly being performed by non-specialists and non-anesthesiologists. This is an important opportunity to improve outcomes for more patients, but it also presents unique risks and responsibilities. As the guardians of the safety and quality of our subspeciality, we need to balance increased access to regional anesthesia and pain medicine with advocating for appropriate teaching, supervision, and credentialling.

What one word would you say describes you?
Optimistic

What do you enjoy doing outside of work and why?
When I’m in New York City: dinner and a show. When I’m not: a round of golf with my husband and rehabbing our 100-year-old house (full disclosure: I stick mainly to the gardening). Both are great ways to recharge and get ready to face the week ahead.