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Dr. Oscar de Leon-Casasola Named 2021 John J. Bonica Awardee, Will Present Lecture at ASRA’s 20th Annual Pain Medicine Meeting

Sep 27, 2021

ASRA
Dr. Oscar de Leon-Casasola

Oscar de Leon-Casasola, MD, has been selected to receive the 2021 John J. Bonica Award. The honor recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to the development, teaching and practice of pain medicine in the tradition of John J. Bonica, MD, the pioneering anesthesiologist regarded as the “founding father of pain relief medicine.”

The award and lecture, titled “How I Helped My Patients... and Colleagues Through Research,” will be presented on November 20th during ASRA’s 20th Annual Pain Medicine meeting to be held Nov. 18-20, 2021, in San Francisco, CA, and virtually.

Dr. de Leon-Casasola is the senior vice chair, a professor of anesthesiology, and director of the Pain Fellowship Program in the department of anesthesiology, and a professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. In addition, he chairs the Division of Pain Medicine and Symptom Management and is a professor of oncology at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.


“I remain committed to working to improve the quality of life for the patient in pain—and to applying Dr. Bonica’s education principles to the next generation of pain physicians that I currently train.” - Dr. Oscar de Leon-Casasola

In recommending Dr. de Leon-Casasola for the award, David A. Provenzano, MD, wrote that the awardee is “an advocate for multidisciplinary collaboration in the evaluation and treatment of patients with pain. Furthermore, he provided extensive amounts of leadership and volunteer time to ASRA.” Dr. Provenzano, ASRA’s president-elect, is president of Pain Diagnostics and Interventional Care, Sewickley PA.

“I was deeply inspired and humbled when I heard of my selection to receive this prestigious honor,” Dr. de Leon-Casasola said, adding that he is “profoundly indebted” to the selection committee and Board.

“The support from my department chair, Dr. Mark Lema, and my co-workers must also be recognized for creating the environment that allowed me to develop the work for which I am recognized today,” de Leon-Casasola said. “I remain committed to working to improve the quality of life for the patient in pain—and to applying Dr. Bonica’s education principles to the next generation of pain physicians that I currently train.” 

Dr. Bonica was a professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. He was recognized as a champion of multidisciplinary collaboration in the evaluation and treatment of patients in pain. He passed away in 1994.

Dr. de Leon-Casasola earned his medical degree in 1982 from the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, Guatemala City, and his bachelor’s degree in music with a specialty in piano in 1976 from the National Conservatory of Music Guatemala City. His post-doctoral training from 1980 to 1990 comprised internship and residency in general surgery, anesthesiology, critical care, and pain medicine at various universities both in Guatemala and the United States. He is board certified in anesthesiology, critical care, and pain medicine.

A prolific writer, Dr. de Leon-Casasola has published more than 100 articles in major medical journals and has authored or coauthored chapters in 36 books. He edited the book Cancer Pain – Pharmacological, Interventional, and Palliative Care Approaches (Elsevier, 2006), and he co-authored three other books, Acute Pain Management (Cambridge University Press, 2009); Interventional Techniques for the Treatment of Chronic Pain (Editorial Glosa, 2011); and The Basic Science of Pain: An Illustrated and Clinically Orientated Guide.

Dr. de Leon-Casasola has received editorial appointments from 17 publications and editorial boards. He has served as a guest reviewer for Regional Anesthesia Anesthesiology, Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, and Anesthesia and Analgesia.

Dr. de Leon-Casasola has been very active in ASRA, including serving as the organization’s president (2015-2017), president-elect (2013-2015), treasurer (2011-2013), assistant treasurer (2009-2011), and a Board of Directors member (2005-2019).

He is an internationally invited speaker on pain management and has been honored with many awards in successive years, including Castle Connolly Medical List of America’s Top Doctors and Buffalo Spree Top Docs List, both for 16 years, and The American Registry — America’s Most Honored Professionals — Top 1%.

The John J. Bonica Award honors the multiple contributions Dr. Bonica made to the field of pain medicine. Dr. Bonica wrote the first book devoted to pain management, mentored clinicians and colleagues, and started the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). Learn about Dr. Bonica in the TED Talk “The Amazing Story of the Man Who Gave Us Modern Pain Relief.

Nominees for this award embody the ideals of John Bonica and his passion for pain medicine as manifested through their contributions by way of research, teaching, and clinical practice.

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