Medical students are a critical component of our teaching mission. We are involved with teaching in the medical school throughout all four years of the curriculum and offer both required and elective courses.

During the first year students are invited to participate in a weekend elective called the Unsung Hero. Students can pick a Saturday or Sunday to come to the operating rooms in Milstein and observe anesthesiologists at work. They stay throughout the morning and afternoon if they wish, and are asked to fill out an evaluation form of their experience.

During the Fundamental Curriculum, the Department provides lectures focusing on anesthetic drugs and pain management issues.

A one-week clerkship as part of a six-week surgical specialty block is required during the Major Clinical Year Curriculum. All students rotate through, receiving lectures on pharmacology, pain management, oxygen therapy and the perioperative assessment of “sick” patients with complex co-morbidities. Most of the students' time is spent in the OR's, where they get a chance to see their pharmacology and physiology knowledge applied in real life to patients.  They have the opportunity to observe and assist in the administration of anesthesia, and may if appropriate be involved in procedures such as IV placement and airway management.

The Department offers three month-long electives during the Differential and Integration Curriculum. First is an OR elective where the student spends two weeks in the general OR's, honing IV placement and airway management skills. The rest of the month is spent in the subspecialty areas, such as cardiac, neuro, pediatrics, etc. This can be tailored to the particular student's interest or be very generalized. The second offering is a pain medicine rotation, where the student spends one month with the pain team, working in the outpatient clinic on chronic pain issues and the inpatient acute setting. The month includes observing and participating in block procedures as well as rounds and conferences. The final elective is one month in the surgical and cardiothoracic intensive care unit. This sub-I elective has been consistently the most popular elective in the curriculum as students get the chance to follow critically ill patients throughout the month and have critical input into their care. All of the electives are available to students from outside institutions, space permitting. Requests should be made through the Dean’s Office, 212-305-1642, and through the Department;

Research is constantly going on in the Department and students have the opportunity to work with an investigator over the summer or throughout the school years, as time permits. Much work is done in conjunction with basic science departments, allowing students to see and participate in both bench and clinical research.  
Various members of the Department participate in teaching throughout the four years and in all areas of the curriculum for example the Anatomy Course, where we offer “invivo” ultrasound teaching demonstrations to correlate with cadaver anatomy instruction. This runs the gamut from isolated lectures to serving as advisors to students interested in careers in anesthesiology. 

Finally, students serve an important function for our residents and faculty. Residents and attendings need to constantly develop and improve their teaching skills and students are who we teach and so they in essence provide “feedback” to all of us.  In our wonderful profession of Medicine, it is the responsibility of all of us to mentor and teach and so “replicate ourselves” for the next generation. Through one-on-one teaching in the OR's to small group teaching on rotation, students offer themselves as eager learners and astute evaluators of our teaching program.




Columbia University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology