greetings from the chairman

Welcome to the Columbia University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology Home Page. The purpose of this site is to provide ready access to information about our department and its activities.

Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has a tradition of excellence in the field of anesthesiology, derived from the quality and depth of our clinical program, the range of clinical material in our operating rooms and intensive care units, the professional experience of our faculty, and the high caliber of our research teams. New York Presbyterian Hospital has been on the honor roll  of U.S. News and World Report for many years (2003 - 2013), reflecting the very best in subspecialty medical care. In 2012/13, New York Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell ranked number 7 on the U.S. News and World Report Honor Roll for Best Hospitals.  CUMC provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory, and preventive care in all areas of medicine. One of the largest and most comprehensive health-care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education, and community service. It consistently ranks as one of the top hospitals in the country in U.S. News & World Report's guide to "America's Best Hospitals," in New York Magazine's Best Doctors issue, and in many other leading surveys. The Department of Anesthesiology faculty at CUMC attend at three centers, New York - Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Children's Hospital of New York and The Allen Pavilion.

The Anesthesiology Service was established as part of the Department of Surgery in 1937 under the direction of Dr. Virginia Apgar, world-famous for the Apgar score that is used to this day in the evaluation of newborn infants. The independent Department of Anesthesiology was founded in 1952, under the chairmanship of Dr. Emanuel M. Papper. Thus, Dr. Papper was the first chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University. We celebrated our Golden Jubilee in 2002!

As clinicians we administer more than 50,000 anesthetics annually in over 40 operating rooms and other anesthetizing locations (total around 100).  Our department directs the three surgical and cardiothoracic intensive care units under the leadership of Dr. Robert Sladen.   The Pediatric Anesthesia Division is led by Dr. Lena Sun and the Obstetric Anesthesia Division is led by Dr. Richard Smiley. We also attend in the pediatric intensive care unit.  The new Heart Center, with new state-of-the-art operating rooms and a new intensive care unit opened in February 2010. The Cardiac Anesthesia Division is led by Dr. Jack Shanewise, an internationally recognized authority on trans-esophageal echocardiography.  We have a strong Neuroanesthesia Program, under the leadership of Dr. Eric Heyer with excellent collaboration with the Departments of Neurology and Neuro Surgery.  Finally, we provide treatment of acute and chronic pain for both adult and pediatric patients in our Pain Medicine Center and in the hospital at large.  In late 2013/early 2014 our Pain Medicine Center will move to brand new facilities (including an interventional suite) in Midtown – the “Columbia Pain Medicine Doctors” will practice from Columbus Circle.  Our regional anesthesia team has been at the forefront of new techniques for anesthesia  in the ORs using imaging techniques such as ultrasound and improving Perioperative Interventional Pain Management.   

Our basic and clinical research efforts are expanding the boundaries of medical knowledge and improving patient care. The research program ranges from clinical research to whole animal physiology to cellular and molecular biology to population and health services research. Dr. Charles Emala is Vice Chair for Research in the Department, and Dr. Neil Harrison heads up the Anesthesiology Neurobiology Research Group and is Vice Chair for Molecular Neurobiology in Anesthesiology.   We also have a strong basic science Biology of Pain research group with Drs. Jose Moron-Concepcion and Joachim Scholz available for trainee mentorship.  Dr. Guohua Li, the Finster Professor is Vice Chair and Director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes in Anesthesiology and Critical Care.  Dr. HT Lee is Vice Chair for Laboratory Research. All our laboratories have been extensively renovated.

Our residents and fellows are outstanding, and are provided the opportunity to present their clinical and research findings (in conjunction with faculty) at national meetings. Recently, there has been an interest from resident applicants in international and global health in relation to anesthesiology; New York is an ideal city for this area of activity. New York is truly an international city, and you will have the opportunity to develop as an anesthesiologist skilled in treating patients from diverse backgrounds and cultures. We have 104 residents and more than 30 clinical and research fellows at Columbia. We have a four year integrated program, so that all our residents will do their “internship” at Columbia as well as the anesthesiology part of their training.    In July 2010 the integrated four year categorical program was totally in place so that we have 104 residents i.e. 26 residents per year. Two of these residents every year will be Apgar Scholars. We are leaders in the provision of "cutting edge" anesthesia care for all subspecialties, and are also innovators in residency education. Our commitment to resident education is absolute and our goal is to train the future leaders of our specialty. To ensure that our program director has the time and resources to give his or her "all" to the residency program, we have an endowed fully funded chair for the program director - the Ngai-Jubilee Chair, which is currently held by Dr. Leila Pang.

We are very proud of our residents, and I recognize how privileged I am to have the opportunity to mentor and interact with such an outstanding group of individuals.

The links on our Website indicate the scope of our diverse activities; thank you for your interest in our program.  Please also visit the Wood Library Museum website to hear Dr. Wood’s “Living History Interview” and hear about the Apgar Scholars Program at Columbia. You can see the video by scrolling down to the picture of Dr. Wood and at the foot of the page in the link below:  

http://www.woodlibrarymuseum.org/library/media

Finally, let me say that 2012 was a special year for our department; it was the 60th anniversary of the founding of the department – a diamond jubilee anniversary.  The Department was founded in January 1952, and at that time there were only 3 other Departments of Anesthesiology in the world. We have experienced 60 wonderful years, and look forward to many more!

Margaret Wood, M.D., F.R.C.A., E.M. Papper Professor and Chair 

For more about CUMC click here
For more about New York Presbyterian Hospital click here.

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Columbia University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology