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April 2022: Poonam Pai

Apr 1, 2022, 00:00 AM by ASRA Pain Medicine

Poonam Pai, MD, MS, assistant professor in the department of Anesthesiology at Mount Sinai West – Morningside Hospitals in New York City, is the April 2022 featured Member Spotlight. Dr. Pai’s experience, influence, mentorship, and research interests are just some of the reasons her nominator, Dr. Yan Lai, described her as “the perfect individual that deserves this honor.”

“She demonstrates superior clinical judgment, a diligent work ethic, and a warm personality,” Dr. Lai wrote. “She possesses a truly magnetic disposition and helps her colleagues and patients dwell in a cheerful atmosphere. In the operating room, she makes rational, global, and effective decisions during flawless execution of complex anesthetics for our challenging patient population. Outside the operating room, she is well respected for her demeanor as a kind individual, a compassionate clinician, and a professional colleague.”

Dr. Pai earned bachelor’s degrees in both medicine and surgery in Bangalore, India, where she also completed multiple residencies and externships. She completed both her residency in anesthesiology and her regional anesthesia fellowship at Mount Sinai St Luke’s-Mount Sinai West.

“Poonam never stops coming up with innovative ideas that spark her curiosity … and… along the way, she inspires others around her to becoming the best,” Dr. Lai wrote. He listed some of her accomplishments including organizing regional technique workshops for residents, creating a procedure manual for the acute pain rotation, and helping to design a rotational curriculum for orthopedics residents. She also has an interest in patient safety and system efficiency. She presented an integrated grand rounds on PACU efficiency, created discharge instructions for ambulatory patients with peripheral nerve catheters, and designed and implemented novel medication labels for local anesthetics in the operating room to reduce medication errors.

Dr. Pai’s accomplishments are quite extensive, but one especially impressive way that she has been impactful on the profession is by helping her institution to receive ACGME accreditation in the first round in 2017. Dr. Pai also has an enthusiasm for academic research, participating both directly and expanding the institutional research division, which Dr. Lai said is responsible for the division increasing active clinical trials and research projects 10-fold over a two-year period.

Dr. Pai has contributed to several book chapters on regional anesthesia, participates in ASRA Pain Medicine as an associate faculty member and ASRA Pain Medicine News contributor, and is frequently invited to serve as a grand rounds speaker for multiple institutions.

“She is a superstar whose humility shines far brighter than her stardom,” Dr. Lai concluded.

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