ESRA/ASRA Pain Medicine newsletter collaboration - ESRA

ESRA Updates

May 2024 | Issue 15

ESRA/ASRA Pain Medicine newsletter collaboration

Amit Pawa (Consultant Anaesthetist, Podcaster & Clinical Professor) @amit_pawa
Jeff Gadsden (Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC, USA) @jeffgadsden
Kris Vermeylen (Co-Editor of ESRA Updates, AZ Turnhout, Belgium) @KVermeylen

As you have read in the October editorial in 2023 in ESRA Updates Editorial – ESRA (, we made a big stride in the collaboration between ESRA and ASRA Pain Medicine at the World Congress in Paris. Joining forces between two associations of regional anaesthesia can lead to a more potent, influential, and effective presence in the field. The synergies created through collaboration can result in advancements that benefit professionals, patients, and the broader healthcare community.

In this spirit, ESRA and ASRA have begun a partnership through a newsletter journal. This common venture aims to enhance communication, share insights, and foster a sense of community among associates of both organizations. To ensure the success of this collaboration, it is vital to articulate clear goals, identify the target audience, develop a content calendar, assign roles and responsibilities, and meticulously review and refine the content.

Amit Pawa’s and Jeff Gadsden’s podcast gathers listeners from 106 countries worldwide and counts over 26,000 downloads

Initiating a collaboration between two organizations specializing in this subdiscipline of anaesthesia necessitates meticulous strategizing, proficient communication, and a mutual understanding of objectives. Essential considerations encompass precise delineation of the goals of each association, thorough investigation of their respective missions, identification of contacts, coordination of initial meetings, pinpointing collaborative projects or initiatives, formulation of a comprehensive communication strategy, and dissemination of pertinent information to members of both associations.

By adhering to these guidelines, ESRA and ASRA can consistently produce a joint newsletter that not only caters to their members’ interests but also fortifies the relationship between the two organizations, fostering a collaborative and impactful partnership.

Reflecting this shared spirit of collaboration, who better to kick off this project for us in ESRA Updates than Dr Amit Pawa (representing ESRA) and Dr Jeff Gadsden (representing ASRA Pain Medicine), two anaesthesiologists sharing a cooperative podcast.

Dr Amit Pawa is a Consultant Anaesthetist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, and the Cleveland Clinic London, London, UK. Dr Jeff Gadsden is a Professor of Anesthesiology at Duke University, and Chief of the Division of Regional Anesthesiology. They have been cooperating across the Atlantic to create their joint broadcast – “Block it Like it’s Hot” – which is a great example of how amazing work can be produced through working together, even across the ocean!  In the following script of the ‘podcast’, we get a flavor of how they do this so successfully, we also explore how their ideas came about and delving into each other’s backgrounds, and many more.

ESRA/ASRA Pain Medicine asked them to give the members some insight on their joint podcast “Block it like it’s hot” which is getting immensely popular. How did they do it? Read on…

Title: Why we wanted to “Block It Like It’s Hot”
Dr Amit Pawa & Dr Jeff Gadsden

Amit: Hey Jeff! How are you?

Jeff: Hey Amit – doing pretty well – How about you?

Amit: Well, you know Jeff – I’m doing just fine thanks for asking! I have a proposal for you? The folks at ESRA Newsletter have asked us to share some of our thoughts with their readership as to why we decided to start our podcast “Block it Like It’s Hot”, and to share some of our insights and experiences on what it has been like doing our first season. What do you think?

Jeff: Wow – that is such an honor- of course – would be glad to. Wait…I do have one question though.

Amit: Okay, what is it?

Jeff:  You are not going to try and squeeze in some jokes are you?! Just kidding! Okay, where should we start? How about why we decided to do it in the first place?

Amit: Great first question, and in regards to the jokes; well I guess it depends on the word count!!

 If I recall correctly, we sort of joked about doing a podcast when I interviewed you for an ASRA news article all about the first year you ran #Blocktober right?

Jeff: Yes – that’s right – that was a fun thing we recorded over zoom and you then transcribed into an article ( back in 2021.

What many people may not have realized is that we have known each other since 2010/2011 but hadn’t really had a chance to spend lots of time together, but we had met at conferences and we even co-authored an article in RAPM right?

Amit: Yes, that’s true – the Article that Ki Jinn Chin put together on Abdominal wall blocks in RAPM ( It was an honor for me to be in that paper with all of you. We actually only talked semi-seriously about doing a podcast when we met face to face after the pandemic at the ESRA meeting in Thessonaliki in June 2022 though.

Jeff: I remember it well! So who came up with the name of the show? I have a feeling it was me, but I am sure you are going to tell me it was you!

Amit: Ha! Well if memory serves me correctly – I created a short list of Hip-Hop inspired names that had a loose connection to regional anesthesia and we both liked our final choice! Once we had the name, then we got a logo design drawn up, and had some jingle music composed, and then we were all set to start recording.

Jeff: That’s right–it was a definite “oh, that’s the one!” moment for the name. Speaking of recording, someone asked me recently if we “wing it” for the discussion, or if we had a script. So, there’s a bit of a trick there…we do TRY to make it sound like a conversation–and honestly, it is–but actually YOU come up with the framework for each episode’s discussion far in advance which is incredibly helpful for keeping things on track. Then we both do some research to make sure we’re not making fools of ourselves. Or at least, bigger fools than we already are…

Amit: Haha, yes, that’s not an easy task sometimes!

Jeff: You mean coming up with the framework?

Amit: No, making us sound smart! Now Jeff, when listening to a podcast, sound quality is so important, what magic do you work to make us sound the way we do on the podcast?

Jeff: I listen to a number of podcasts, and appreciate good quality audio.  It was really important to me that we got the best sound possible. I know that you spoke to Dr Raj Gupta from ASRA, and I spoke to some colleagues I know to get some useful tips. The challenge with recording transatlantic conversations is making sure we didn’t suffer due to suboptimal WIFI connections – that’s how we came up with the set-up we did.

Amit: Absolutely – so for our readers/listeners, I’ll let you into the secret. When we record an episode, we video-call each other so we can have that personal engagement, but we actually record our audio via good quality podcast microphones directly onto our computers. We then rely on the audio editing skills of the “one and only” Dr Jeff Gadsden to put our two audio tracks together as one. This takes a lot of time and effort. Jeff you are an absolute whiz at this! I am so grateful!

Jeff:  Hey Amit, it’s a pleasure! I actually really enjoy the editing and to begin with, it did take quite a bit of time, but I am definitely getting faster at it now. The only disadvantage is the number of times I need to hear the same joke over and over again! Just kidding!

Amit: Yes! I can imagine that it must be tough, especially with my jokes!

One of the questions Dr Kris Vermeylen wanted to ask was “How do we juggle clinical commitments with making time to put this together?

Jeff: Well the truth is, it is tough isn’t it?! We both have family, clinical, academic and educational commitments, and we then have to consider our time differences too! We have had to be organized, and then have a plan of what we want to cover in our allotted time. It’s not easy, but because it is something we both enjoy, we make the time. You had some additional organizational issues at home though didnt you?

Amit: Yes, an additional consideration I had for the first 7 episodes recording when my youngest daughter was out of the house! I used her bedroom as a recording studio as it had the best acoustics, so I had to negotiate some deals with her to get studio time! Reflecting back on your point about enjoying what we do, it absolutely is the highlight of my week or month when we get together! It’s like catching up with a friend while getting on-line Continuing Medical Education! I learn so much from our chats!

Jeff: I guess the next question people may want an answer to is “How did we decide what topics to cover, and how do we decide what to talk about in each episode”?

Amit: That was where it got interesting. We both have our favorite topics and blocks, but we also wanted to produce content that people would get value from listening too. It was a case of creating a long list of topics, and then selecting the topics we felt would be most valuable such as the knee arthroplasty, teaching, and breast surgery.

Jeff:  I think that giving people a reason to tune-in is key. I am not sure that people would be interested in listening to you and I discussing pure clinical trial data–anyone can get that from reading a journal. I do think people are more interested in listening to how you do your awake breast surgery, or how I perform my knee arthroplasty recipe, or even what our opinions are on the ESP Block!

Amit: I was wondering how long it would take for the ESP to be mentioned! The next thing I want to ask you is “How do you envisage people using the podcast as an educational resource”?

Jeff: What’s interesting to me is the fact that, as visual a field as ultrasound guided regional anesthesia is, audio podcasts are able to impart valuable information. But maybe our material is kind of a jumping off point for listeners to further their own journey? As this is a relatively informal and lighthearted discussion of the subject matter, I hope that people would use this to reinforce their current knowledge, to use it as a “signpost” to check out some of the other educational materials such as youtube videos or papers we highlight, or even to consider taking aspects of what we talk about and trying it out in their own clinical practice.

Amit: I picture people tuning in on their commute to work, or while relaxing or working at home and using it for some “Edu-tainment”! The most gratifying thing for me was receiving so many messages via the various social media platforms we are on from people who have tried out aspects of our recipes, or used a tip or trick we have mentioned and have it truly benefit patient care. It is a lovely feeling.

What impact has the podcast had so far Jeff?

Jeff: The incredible thing is that we have got listeners from 106 countries worldwide and over 26,000 downloads. It is almost incomprehensible that people who would never have met us, and may never have heard of us are able to benefit from our informal discussions on regional anesthesia – pretty mind blowing eh?

Amit: I was wondering if your Canadian accent would come across in print, and there it was eh?! Yes – the international reach is more than I could have imagined and that is the beauty of social media when used for education. People who may not be in a position to travel to listen to us speak or lecture can hear us talk from the comfort of their own homes. I would also say that the impact on me has been phenomenal too, I was able to modify my regional anesthesia recipe for Knee arthroplasty by listening to yours – the best peer-to-peer education!

Jeff: Now we have talked about the positives, but are there any negatives to listening to a couple of “old geezers” like us talk about regional anesthesia on a podcast?

Amit: We have to be honest and state that our content is not peer-reviewed. So, while much of what we practice as regional anaesthetists is evidence-based, or at the very least evidence-influenced, we are sharing our own thoughts, practices and opinions. It stands to reason that not everyone will agree with us, and some things that we say may not be able to be replicated in other countries or healthcare institutions. What we aim to do however, is spark a conversation, and encourage discussions and dissemination of information. There is one other negative though…

Jeff: Okay, what is it?

Amit: Well, we don’t get to hear people laugh at our jokes! Speaking of which – I got one for you. How does a regional anaesthetist locate their target?

Jeff:  I am gonna regret this, I don’t know Amit, How does a regional anaesthetist locate their target?

Amit: By using Satellite Nerv(e) – igation of course!

Jeff:  Oh dear – we better draw this episode to a close! We hope you enjoyed this little insight into #BlockItLikeItsHot, and that you tune in via your usual podcast provider if you haven’t already.

Amit: Many thanks to Kris Vermeylen for asking us to contribute to the ESRA/ASRA newsletter – and please do also check us out on X at @blockit_hot_pod, on instagram on block_it_like_its_hot, and on youtube @blockitlikeitshot

Amit & Jeff: Till next time we hope you Block It Like It’s Hot!

Listen to the podcast

Topics: Block It Like It’s Hot , ESRA/ASRA collaboration

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