President’s Message: Collaboration With ESRA Translates Into More Benefits and Opportunities for ASRA Members
It is always remarkable that, regardless of where we practice, at our core we are so similar. The world is getting much smaller. In 2019, I had the pleasure of attending the 38th European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA) Congress in Bilbao, Spain. The meeting offered exceptional educational and scientific content, and as always, our European colleagues were wonderful and gracious hosts. However, the best part of the Congress for me was the face-to-face time with our global colleagues. When I started my career some three decades ago, attending a European meeting seemed “foreign” - with different drugs, different techniques, and very different expectations. I walked away from the ESRA meeting impressed that we are quite similar in our techniques, drugs, outcomes, and expectations, but we are still diverse enough to learn quite a bit from one another. Clearly, by collaborating on a global scale, we are stronger.
“We recognize the power of our societies working together and also our global responsibility to lead the direction for education and practice in regional anesthesia and pain medicine.”
The collaboration between ASRA and ESRA is strong. ASRA’s journal, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, is also the official journal of ESRA. Both societies offer meeting registration discounts for the others’ members to promote broader networking and collaboration. ASRA recently added an ESRA membership category, enabling ESRA members to join ASRA and receive benefits such as our special interest groups and their related communities. ESRA also offers a reduced membership category for ASRA members and shares the ESRA Academy, a multimedia site that provides a wealth of resources, including webcasts, videos, tools, and review articles.
Our collaboration with ESRA has manifested in several meaningful publications as well. For example, “Impact of Perioperative Pain Management on Cancer Recurrence: An ASRA/ESRA Special Article” and the soon-to-be published “ESRA/ASRA Pediatric Regional Anesthesia Joint Committee Practice Advisory III: Infection, Coagulation and Local Anesthetic Systemic Toxicity” were written by volunteers from and vetted by both societies. The “European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy and the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Joint Committee Practice Advisory on Controversial Topics in Pediatric Regional Anesthesia” was last published in 2015.
Our Newsletter Committee is working with ESRA representatives on developing content, including a series of articles on how procedures are done on either side of the Atlantic. Often what is considered standard practice in Europe isn’t the same as what is done in the United States, so the articles will enable us to learn new ideas and techniques and find the best approaches for all. A peek at ASRA’s Twitter feed demonstrates this European/North American collaboration as well. The discussions are often lively, always insightful, and demonstrate clear lasting connections between our members.
As part of this collaborative initiative, I’ve reached out to Alain Delbos, the current ESRA president, to define some tangible joint projects for the coming years. We recognize the power of our societies working together and also our global responsibility to lead the direction for education and practice in regional anesthesia and pain medicine. I’d love to hear what other ideas you have to further develop this collaboration. What topics would benefit from having both a European and North American “voice” for guidelines, practice advisories, or education? Please send your ideas to email@example.com, and ASRA leaders will consider the suggestions for future projects. Together, we can create great opportunities for our collective memberships and, ultimately, our patients.