President’s Message: My 20-Year Journey with ASRA, Embracing Diversity and Inclusion

Aug 1, 2021, 23:00 PM by Samer Narouze, MD, PhD, ASRA President

Cite as: Narouze S. President’s message: my 20-year journey with ASRA, embracing diversity and inclusion. ASRA News. 2021;46.


As I begin my term as president of ASRA, I want to take a moment to thank those who helped make my journey possible. My first exposure to ASRA was in 1999 when Dr. John Tetzlaff, my then anesthesia program director at Cleveland Clinic, gave me the opportunity to travel to present an abstract at the ASRA 24th Annual Meeting and supported my involvement in establishing the Resident Section Council. The following year, Dr. Michael Stanton Hicks of Cleveland Clinic – my great mentor – supported my application for the 2000 Resident/Fellow Travel Award. I presented one of the very early studies on intrathecal catheters for postdural puncture headache. This was an awesome opportunity for this new pain fellow who immigrated from Egypt to pursue better opportunities in United States with little money in his pocket.

Since then, I soon realized that ASRA is my home society.

I want to especially thank former ASRA President Dr. Vincent Chan who sponsored me and supported my passion and enthusiasm for using interventional ultrasound for pain procedures. He introduced me to the ASRA leadership in the mid-2000s, gave me the opportunity to lead the first ASRA Pain and MSK Ultrasound Cadaver Course, and appointed me to the CME Committee in 2010.

As the premier pain society in North America, we have an obligation to provide thoughtful leadership and be a part of the solution.

Additionally, I’d like to thank Dr. Joe Neal for approving my initiative to start the special interest groups (SIGs).  We started with four SIGs and have grown to 23 in only 7 years – with more on the way. My sincere gratitude to Drs. Oscar de Leon-Casasola and Kumar Buvanendran and to the whole ASRA Board for their trust in electing me to join ASRA Board of Directors and pursue the officer track.

Finally, I want to thank my predecessor, Immediate Past President Dr. Gene Viscusi, for his unparalleled work in addressing diversity and inclusion on the Board and in our leadership, awards, faculty, SIGs, and every aspect of ASRA.

This work in embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion must and will continue not only within ASRA but as a key component of our work in developing educational programs, supporting high-quality research, and advocating for change in regulatory matters and health care, as a whole.

As the premier pain society in North America, we have an obligation to provide thoughtful leadership and be a part of the solution. I look forward to working with ASRA members to ensure the Society is focused on advancing our profession and improving patient care. To that end, we will be implementing opportunities for members to share their needs and suggestions through Member Forums, the first of which was held on July 1st and produced many thoughtful suggestions and other opportunities to communicate and share ideas.

At our recent 46th Annual Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting in May, we were thrilled that some were able to reconnect in person in Disney World – as well as virtually – as we move forward and begin to put the worst of the pandemic behind us. Of course, as I write this, COVID has not gone away and is still ravaging many parts of the world. But we have begun to see hope and are incrementally returning to our new normal, which involves in-person meetings and courses, and a stronger ability to provide hybrid (in-person plus virtual) education to anyone, anywhere.

We have an exciting fall planned with many educational opportunities including our new Persistent Perioperative Pain Symposium planned for September 25th. This one-day virtual program centers around predicting, preventing, and treating chronic postoperative pain and supporting the patient through the entire pain spectrum – this is the ultimate goal of ASRA as we pursue our vision of reducing the global burden of pain.

I hope you will be able to join us in-person this fall at one of our November courses in Chicago (Introduction to Perioperative Point-of-Care Ultrasound; Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia Cadaver Course) and/or our 20th Annual Pain Medicine Meeting in San Francisco, CA. The future of regional anesthesia and pain medicine is bright, and I encourage you to consider applying for one of our research grants. We also have a number of other exciting initiatives planned for the future, which I hope to be able to share with you in the next issue of ASRA News.

My journey to ASRA leadership started in a way that doesn’t look much different than many of you. I invite our trainees to get more involved and engaged… you just might be a future ASRA president as well! In the meantime, I look forward to serving all of you as your ASRA president.


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