ASRA Pain Medicine Update

ASRA Pain Medicine Will Celebrate 100 Years of Regional Anesthesia in 2023

Jun 15, 2022, 07:36 AM by ASRA Pain Medicine

100 years of regional anesthesia and pain medicine


The current day American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine was founded in 1975 by L. Donald Bridenbaugh, Harold Carron, Jordan Katz, P. Prithvi Raj, and Alon P. Winnie. Their work and contributions have been recognized throughout the years including in Ptaszynski et al.'s summary of the organization's history in 2006.

It is always noted, however, that there was an earlier ASRA founded in 1923 by Gaston Labat and colleagues. Dr. Labat (1877-1934) has been called the "father" of regional anesthesia and pain medicine in the United States.

It has been said that the current society would not have existed quite like it does without the work of Dr. Labat and the original ASRA.

The first ASRA disbanded in 1941 when membership dwindled during World War II. Its remaining funds were donated to the American Society of Anesthetists (renamed the American Society of Anesthesiologists [ASA] in 1942). During World War II, ASA's membership expanded significantly as physicians trained in anesthesia for military service. Those who returned and wanted to continue working in the field found many opportunities for education and leadership in that national society. Over time, however, the field of regional anesthesia expanded to the degree that the need for a new version of ASRA reemerged. 

Although the current ASRA Pain Medicine is thus only 48 years old, it has been said that the current society would not have existed quite like it does without the work of Dr. Labat and the original ASRA. Coming up on 100 years since this original organization came into existence, ASRA Pain Medicine plans to honor and recognize the occasion with all of the fanfare and celebration that it deserves. This will include a special event on Saturday, April 22, in conjunction with the 48th Annual Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting being held at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, FL.

The event will feature a dinner, dancing, and activities to recognize the history of the organization and the field. A limited number of individual tickets will go on sale in February with proceeds benefiting the ASRA Pain Medicine Research Funds.

ASRA Pain Medicine has been collecting video interviews with past leaders and award winners, gathering materials for the Wood Library and Archives collections of regional anesthesia and pain medicine, and continuing to build upon the written history of the organization. Members with memories or materials from any time throughout the organizations’ histories are invited to share these with ASRA Pain Medicine. Photos, videos, and written materials are welcome. Contact us at to submit items or share memories.

Finally, be sure to spread the word! Use #ASRA100 on social media.



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