President’s Corner

Welcome to the Fall edition of Interchange! First and foremost, on behalf of the Society, I would like to congratulate all those young colleagues that have selected Anesthesia/Critical Care as their subspecialty. This issue is dedicated to you, our newest members.

Just last week, I took a few days off to drop my youngest son in college, and as a parent I was feeling that perfect storm of happiness, pride, uncertainty, and sadness that comes when your child is no longer with you, yet ready to start a life of his own. His emotions most likely reflected mine but with the added eagerness and enthusiasm of the younger years, when the world is yours to conquer.

And that is likely the same emotion many of our future colleagues are feeling right now: after grueling years of medical school and residency, about 200 Anesthesia residents nationwide have decided to join and grow the ranks of our specialty, and I’m sure that they are all sharing the anticipation of future possibilities upon learning in which program they will complete their career aspirations.

Looking back at my experience, I knew that I wanted to work in the ICU but wasn’t sure which pathway would get me there. It wasn’t until I did some rotations in anesthesiology when I realized that the blend of brain, brawn and procedures from anesthesia and intensive care offered the perfect combination to become the doctor I wanted to be. This is a story I’ve heard many, many times in my career and I’m glad it continues to resonate with our residents.

Engaging the younger generation has been a paramount mission of our society, and to that end we have taken several initiatives. In the financial front, we have waived the membership fee for residents, fellows and first year graduates, understanding the economic pressures present nowadays, particularly at the very beginning.

The times of waiting for the next edition of your favorite textbook are long gone. We live in an era of instant communication and information overload, and it is important that SOCCA keeps up with the current pace of dissemination of material pertinent to our field. If you haven’t done so yet, please check the news section of our website https://socca.org/newsletter/ to stay on top of all the events.

One of the activities I strongly urge you to consider is the Board Review Course, designed specifically for the first-time taker of the Critical Care subspecialty exam. The course is based on keywords that proved difficult in the In-Training exam and is presented in a concise and highly effective style. By the time you get this in your inbox some of the installments may have been offered but have no fear: SOCCA members have on-demand access to this and all other educational sessions, including past and future webinars, as well as our landmark event, the Annual Meeting.

The strength of our Society is measured not only by the number of members but by the involvement and enthusiasm of its constituents, and in that regard SOCCA has shown an unparalleled success. To better serve our membership, we have increased the number and scope of our committees and task forces, making sure that there’s room and space for each one of us.  Just to name a few: we are expanding our clinical practice arm by creating task forces that reflect our most common workplaces: CTICU, Neuro, as well as our increasing involvement with ECMO. We are also creating spaces for colleagues in private practice and those within 10 years of graduation, as well as for our female colleagues who face unique challenges.  We understand that Anesthesia Critical Care reaches far and wide and we want to make sure that our tent is big enough, your voice is heard, and your needs met.

Finally, for all our members, a huge word of thank you and recognition in these very trying times. A teacher once told me, as we were discussing our limited appeal to Anesthesiology residents in general, that if you ever go to war, the person that you want in the trenches, right next to you, is someone who volunteered to be there and not someone who was drafted. That’s us. We are all fighting a once in a lifetime event, and if we look around, all of us are right here, where we need and want to be. Welcome home.

Author

Miguel Cobas, MD, FCCM
President, Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists
University of Miami
Miami, Florida