UMMS Affiliation

Department of Anesthesiology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Anesthesiology; History of Medicine; Internship and Residency; Education, Medical, Graduate


Anesthesiology | Medical Education



History of Anesthesia [HOA] may be taught through lectures, small group discussions, or by one-on-one teaching. HOA competes for scarce time in a busy didactic schedule and for coverage in mainstream medical journals devoted to anesthesiology. These efforts are hampered by the fact that HOA does not have any direct impact on the delivery of modern anesthesia, and the fact that these topics do not appear in written or oral board examinations.

We describe three additional modalities to teach HOA to anesthesia residents that have been successfully employed by the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Massachusetts: 1) Tours; 2) Historical Narratives and Novels; and 3) Movies and Video Clips.


It is difficult to impart information using lectures due to time constraints and a very busy didactic schedule in residency programs. HOA related material does not get adequate coverage in standard textbooks of anesthesiology. We describe successful use of three modalities of imparting interesting information in an informal setting. Such efforts provide a unique experience during residency training. From preliminary reports we are confident that details from such tours, novels and movies remain imprinted in their memory for many years, perhaps permanently. These individuals are likely to remain advocates of history, and may choose to devote a part of their academic career towards exploration of HOA.


Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Washington, DC, October 2012.



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