SOCCA Annual Meeting Award Winners

At the most recent SOCCA Annual Meeting, it was my privilege to present the SOCCA Distinguished Service Award and the Hilmar Burchardi Award to two well-deserving SOCCA members. Below are transcripts from my presentation of these awards.

Aryeh Shander, MD, FCCM

Distinguished Service Award

Aryeh Shander was the recipient of the 2019 SOCCA Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Shander built a career, department and clinical program working tirelessly for what he believes in. Tracking his collaborations and publications, one charts over 20 years of intense, prolific activity matched to numerous collaborations. His publications inform our gold standard for postoperative pulmonary complications. He has written extensively about the hazards of transfusion therapies and has discussed all manner of blood products. His work encompasses the essential assessment and synthesis of a practical approach to blood management, including critical contributions to major guidelines. Two major texts in blood management are his own. He is an accomplished lecturer, having been an invited speaker on every continent except Antarctica. In 1997, he was honored by Time magazine as a “Hero of Medicine” for his contributions to bloodless surgery.

As a former Chief of Service at Englewood Hospital, Aryeh was instrumental in building one of the eminent blood management programs in the country. He is a champion for Anesthesiologist management of anemia, advocating that it is a disease for which the specialty is uniquely qualified to provide guidance and therapies directed at improving outcomes. Aryeh has a long record of service in many important professional associations, serving as the President of the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists for 2014 to 2016. His passion, vision, advocacy, and investigative spirit define great service to his patients, colleagues and the specialty of Critical Care Anesthesiology. We congratulate him for his work and service to our Society, his trainees and to his patients.

Michael F. O’Connor, MD, FCCM

Hilmar Burchardi Award

Michael O’Connor was the recipient of the 2019 Hilmar Burchardi award, given to a genuine “nice guy” of Anesthesiology Critical Care, recognizing true collaborators. I have known Michael since 1998, when I was an intern, and he has been an exemplary good guy, mentor and role model for me.

From the moment I met Michael, I knew he was smart and well spoken, but what really stood out was that he cared. He cared about his patients and his colleagues. It was also clear that he cared about me and my early career.

Michael modeled a true collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit. He could forge alliances with providers, services, nurses and staff. He taught me valuable lessons about soft diplomacy - to remember that water erodes stone, and “never to go to war over 20 of Lasix.” In the years since, we have developed a great friendship. I calibrate my own musings to his. He gave me the greatest gift of any Friendship: he allowed me my own delusions, and allowed me to reflect on them.

How Michael cares for patients and trainees and those around him reflects who he is. He gives his all to his job and his colleagues, tirelessly, and without complaint. No one in my career modeled professional care better. To Michael I say: “Congratulations, and well deserved.”


Mark Nunnally, MD, FCCM
New York University Langone Medical Center
New York, New York