October 2023: Uchenna Umeh
For October, the Member Spotlight features Uchenna O. Umeh, MD, FASA, a clinical assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY. Dr. Umeh is an assistant attending anesthesiologist in the department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Management at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
ASRA Pain Medicine Board Member Meg Rosenblatt, MD, nominated Dr. Umeh to be highlighted not only because she is “an exceptional clinician… but she is a rising star,” Rosenblatt wrote.
Dr. Umeh completed a residency at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, NY, and a subsequent regional anesthesiology and acute pain medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA. She previously served as an assistant professor in the departments of anesthesiology and orthopedic surgery at New York University (NYU) Grossman School of Medicine. In this latter role, Dr. Umeh helped develop multimodal analgesia and opioid-sparing protocols as part of the acute pain management regimen, introduced novel fascial plane blocks into the clinical armamentarium, and assisted in refining the same-day surgery protocol for patients undergoing total joint arthroplasty surgery. From 2018-2022, Dr. Umeh was the codirector of ambulatory anesthesia at Langone Orthopedic Hospital where she introduced novel fascial plane blocks such as quadratus lumborum, PENG and pectoralis blocks into the clinical armamentarium for minimizing postoperative pain in sports surgery patients.
“I implemented the use of the PENG block for patients undergoing hip arthroscopy surgery,” Dr. Umeh stated on her curriculum vitae, adding that “Prior to this, patients solely relied on periscapular infiltration by the surgeon which only covered the incisional area. I also advocated the use of a modified pectoralis II block for axillary pain after open bicep tenodesis surgery.” Dr. Umeh has served as principle investigator on several studies examining the role of peripheral nerve blocks on the development of postoperative pain management.
Dr. Umeh also has extensive clinical education experience and, in 2022, she received the ASRA Pain Medicine Excellence in Education Award. She has also served as faculty for ASRA Pain Medicine as well as a member of the ASRA Pain Medicine Faculty Development Committee.
In writing the nomination, Dr. Rosenblatt recognized Dr. Umeh’s work to develop the Diversity Special Interest Group. “Not only is it a haven for our members seeking to network with colleagues of similar interest, it is conducting research on diversity and inclusion in regional anesthesiology fellowship programs and offers the promise to sponsor future studies looking at the effects of diversity in regional anesthesiology outcomes,” Rosenblatt wrote.
Dr. Umeh also was a founding member and chair of the Diversity Committee within the anesthesiology department at NYU. In 2021, she was awarded a National Institutes of Health diversity supplement to examine the role that social determinants of health play on the development of chronic pain in women with breast cancer undergoing mastectomy surgery.