President's Message: What Have We Done for You Lately?

Jul 25, 2018, 08:51 AM by Asokumar Buvanendran, MD

What Have We Done for You Lately?

Did I hear you ask, what is my Society doing for me? In the last issue (November 2016), I provided an overview of resources available on the ASRA website. In this column, I present an overview of the salient points in membership, education, collaborations, outreach, and advances in science that we have achieved over the past year. In reviewing these accomplishments and achievements, I have to express my appreciation to the Executive Office, ASRA committees and subcommittees, and the ASRA Board for their support in completing these tasks.


Membership Services

We finished 2016 with 4,448 members. Since we finished 2014 with 3,641 and 2015 with 4,275 members, we continue to grow. Special interest groups (SIGs) continue to expand. We now have eight SIGs: Ultrasonography in Pain Medicine, Regenerative Pain Medicine, Perioperative Point of Care Ultrasound (PoCUS), Pediatric Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management, Neuromodulation, Headache, Functional Medicine for Anesthesiologists and Pain Practitioners, and the latest: the Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, and Clinical Nurse. They all are very active, and 34% of our members belong to a SIG. Each SIG has been invited to provide content suggestions for the annual meetings. Please join one or, even better, more than one of these SIGs—it is a member benefit that is frequently overlooked.

Participation at both our spring and fall meetings continues to increase. Likewise, the ASRA/ASA Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia Education Portfolio Cadaver Course and the Pain Medicine and MSK Ultrasound Cadaver Course have been very successful, with both courses selling out and resulting in waiting lists. We have introduced a new workshop to the lineup: the Introduction to Perioperative Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS) workshop. The first one to be held in February 2017 is already sold out, but we will increase the number of slots for 2018 so that we can serve more of our members and nonmembers.



We feel that practice management is an important component of physician education, particularly for new graduates because it provides a road map to follow in setting up their practices. We have developed a Practice Management Program for pain management specialists in partnership with the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and these will be held as satellites to our fall Pain Medicine Meetings. In addition, we will being offering an all-new Practice Management Portfolio certificate program at the 42nd Annual Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting being held in April in San Francisco.

Another exciting new offering is our Pain and MSK Interventional Ultrasound Certificate. The certificate demonstrates an individual’s training and experience in the field and requires submitting an application, attending specific continuing medical education programming, and passing a two-part examination (written and clinical). The examination will be conducted twice in 2017: on June 9 in Chicago, Illinois, and in November in conjunction with the 16th Annual Pain Medicine meeting being held in the central Orlando, Florida, area.

Supporting all of this educational programming requires a strong faculty base. We are committed to faculty development and have therefore created a committee within our Society to teach faculty how to be more effective teachers and to facilitate faculty becoming more independent researchers by supporting the learning of basic statistics, probability theory, study design, and manuscript preparation.



Physician burnout has been called a “public health crisis” by Art Caplan, an ethicist in the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. ASRA will be running a study with other anesthesiology subspecialty societies to determine the incidence of burnout among our members. If you receive the survey, please complete it as it is critical to have these numbers. The short-term plan is to publish the results of the survey in Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (RAPM). The long-term plan is to incorporate educational tools in our programs to prevent and treat those affected.

ASRA has led the way in collaboration with several pain and anesthesiology societies (ASA, the North American Neuromodulation Society, the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Pain Society, and others) in a response to the Centers for Medicare and Medcaid Services on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System; the comments were well received, and this is only the beginning in our involvement in these activities as we are convinced that, at this juncture, regulatory advocacy should be an important component of our activities. ASRA held panels at ASA’s meeting in October, and they were a resounding success. Dr Anahi Perlas led the “PoCUS for the Regional Anesthesiologist” panel, and Dr Ricardo Vallejo the “RAPM Journal in Chronic Pain” panel. Likewise, the ASRA panel at the International Anesthesia Research Society, titled “Post-surgical Pain Syndromes: An Analysis and Treatment of Problem Continuum,” was well attended and received very high grades in the evaluations.

The ASRA–European Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Therapy (ESRA) Pediatric Regional Anesthesia and Analgesia Guidelines for the use of Local Anesthetics and Adjuvants have been completed and will be submitted for publication to RAPM in 2017. I send my appreciation to Dr Giorgio Ivani and Dr Suresh Santhanam for leading the effort. Moreover, we are already working on the ASRA-ESRA Cancer Recurrence document. My appreciation goes to Drs Missair, Votta-Velis, and Borgeat for their leadership in completing this project. We will likely see it published in 2018.

ASRA will have a panel titled “Practical Issues in Pain Management—Healthcare Access Economics, Legislation, and Provider, and Patient Diversities” at the 2017 North American Neuromodulation Society meeting and another on “Managing Pain in High-Risk Patients” at the 2017 Oncology Nursing Society conference. The underlying concept is not only to share knowledge but also to close the relationship gaps among these societies by promoting collaboration.


Advances In Science

The Carl Koller Grant (Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain) and the Chronic Pain Grant are now funded to $200,000 biannually. Submission criteria, application format, and dates of awards can be found on our website at

Finally, the fourth edition of the Regional Anesthesia in the Patient Receiving Antithrombotic or Thrombolytic Therapy: ASRA EvidenceBased Guidelines will be published in early 2017. Please watch for this important new iteration.

As you can see, ASRA has done a lot for its members lately, and we hope you are taking advantage of all that your membership has to offer. Thank you again to all who have contributed to these outstanding programs. We look forward to beginning another exciting year of developments at ASRA!

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