It is estimated that >300 million patients worldwide undergo major surgery each year, a feat that would have been impossible without the discovery of general anesthesia in the mid-19th century. The specialty of anesthesiology now spans operating rooms, intensive care units, and pain clinics; in addition to insensate surgery, anesthesiology has contributed widely to the field of medicine as a whole with innovations such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and critical care medicine. Anesthesiology has been a recognized leader in patient safety and quality improvement, with dramatic reductions in intraoperative mortality over the past five decades. Despite these important clinical contributions that make modern medicine possible, the academic development of anesthesiology has not kept pace with other fields of medicine. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding is generally lower in anesthesiology compared with other disciplines. There is, in our opinion, an urgent need to direct energy and resources to securing the future of academic anesthesiology. We believe that junior academic anesthesiologists and associated trainees represent key targets for high-impact interventions. In the current status quo, junior anesthesiologist-scientists often work in silos within individual departments or within isolated fields. Based on preliminary data, they perceive limited access to the mentorship of a broad array of senior leaders in the field and?perhaps more importantly?they feel disconnected from one another. Furthermore, there is a significant potential to engage junior academic anesthesiologists and trainees in the creation of positive impact through translational research. We propose a series of career development conferences for anesthesiology T32 fellows nationwide as well as research-oriented trainees that will help them navigate the translational research continuum and turn their discoveries into benefits for patients and their communities. These conferences will promote NIH scientific goals by providing mentorship to rising scholars, educating and engaging them in translational principles, enabling scientific collaborations, and stimulating new lines of research. Our strategic goal is to help empower the current and upcoming generations of junior academic anesthesiologists in order to secure the future of academic anesthesiology so that we may continue to make innovative contributions to medicine and society.
The field of anesthesiology is a vital part of modern medicine but has yet to reach its potential for scientific and societal impact. We propose a series of conferences focused on career development in translational research that will help junior academic anesthesiologists grow as leaders who can generate and translate discoveries that benefit society.