President's Message

July 2020 - Special Edition Issue

  1. Eugene Viscusi, MD Director, Acute Pain Management, Thomas Jefferson University Author


To say we live in interesting times would be an understatement.  We have endured the ravages of COVID-19. As I write this message, I am watching the reports of civil unrest, rioting, and racial divide.  Through this, you have had unprecedented physical, emotional, and financial stress. Many of you have been working on the front lines caring for COVID-19 patients, or perhaps you have seen your pain practice closed or are struggling financially.  Some have been personally touched by COVID becoming ill themselves or having colleagues or family members become ill.  Many have taken salary reductions.  On behalf of the Society, I have never been prouder of my colleagues.  Our hearts go out to you for all you have done. 


We realize we are facing a new and somewhat uncertain time for our members, but the Society is alive, well, and ready to pivot to your changing needs.


ASRA is still here and working on your behalf.  In spite of the heartbreaking cancellation of our Spring Annual Meeting, we are here working for you.  You likely have seen the COVID practice recommendations for regional anesthesia and chronic pain created by our volunteers in collaboration with the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA). Additionally, we have have hosted webinars, maintained our journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine at full force, and we are planning activities for the post-COVID world.  We also have kept consistent communication via our now weekly ASRA Digest.

We have exciting plans ahead!

At this time, we are planning to hold our 19th Annual Pain Medicine Meeting in Las Vegas with both a live and virtual component, with every required health and safety precaution in place.  We would not want the fabulous spring meeting content to go to waste after Program Chair Jaime Baratta, MD, worked so hard. so we will have a joint meeting creating a world congress of acute pain, chronic pain, and regional anesthesia.  We are incredibly excited with the possibilities of bringing our entire ASRA family together at this meeting in person and virtually. We also will be collaborating with our sister society ESRA on September 19 for a global virtual post-COVID congress with a nonstop 24-hour meeting encompassing acute pain, chronic pain, and regional anesthesia.  

Stay tuned for a new expanding portfolio of web-based ASRA education products as well. Shortly, we anticipate offering an in-depth financial management course focusing on a post-COVID strategy for financial security.  We have a legal medicine course in planning as well as a wellness portfolio.  Then, we are planning on-line key topics by leading experts in the fields of acute and chronic pain and regional anesthesia.

Through these difficult times, ASRA continues to thrive because of the dedication of our volunteers, our ASRA staff under the direction of Executive Director Angie Stengel, and our dedicated board of directors.  None of this is possible without all of you.  In this issue of ASRA News, we highlight the work and accomplishments of our volunteers.  The extent to which our members have contributed on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis is truly amazing.  Personal stories of triumphs and tribulations, case reports, dealing with current and future PPE issues, as well as a COVID intubation registry are impressive. Those struggling with reopening their pain practices will appreciate the article on the Drug Enforcement Administration guidelines for this process.

Our SIGs are incredibly important to the vitality of the Society. Volunteers with common interests gather to advance key topics and initiatives bringing critical to the advancement of ASRA. We have added some new and timely groups recently, and we highlight them here.

In this issue, we celebrate our many award recipients.  I am overwhelmed with the accomplishments of so many dedicated ASRA members.  Some of the awards celebrate our young members, still residents and fellows.  Others celebrate those who have made staggering contributions and life-long commitments to our specialty and our Society. I am perhaps most proud of our one-time special Trailblazers Award recipients.  You may recall that this year, we are celebrating the contributions and accomplishments made by women in ASRA.  As a society, we are committed to respect and equality for everyone.  We are consciously seeking diversity in all walks of ASRA.  We are truly stronger together!

We realize we are facing a new and somewhat uncertain time for our members, but the Society is alive, well, and ready to pivot to your changing needs.  You may recall when I started my presidency that I relayed a story told to me by my mentor. A ship leaves the Old World filled with people and gold headed for new opportunity in the New World.  Halfway through the voyage, the seas become turbulent and the ship is in danger of sinking.  The captain realizes they must lose weight to stay afloat and has the difficult decision to throw overboard either the gold or the people.  At the beginning of my presidency, I never imagined we would be navigating through the turbulence we are experiencing.  Be assured that ASRA will always embrace, support, and advocate for our members so matter how turbulent the waters become. 

I ask for your continued support and thank you for all you do as volunteers for ASRA.  I also ask that you flood us with ideas, suggestions, and educational program ideas while we are exploring and planning our course.   Email these to astengel@asra.com.   Know that ASRA is here advocating for you and supporting your practice.