We HAVE the world - ESRA

ESRA Updates

May 2023 | Issue 12

We HAVE the world

Steve Coppens (Co-editor of ESRA Updates, UZ Leuven, Belgium) @Steve_Coppens

Some of you may be old enough to remember the song “We are the world” recorded and released in 1985. Although the idea and motivation might have been good, things have changed dramatically  since then. Unfortunately not everything has changed for the better – poverty and war still rages on – the earth feels and looks very different than the last world congress in New York.

Our planet has become smaller, we are more alike than most of us want to admit or see. Ironically some of the world’s poorest regions have the most to suffer from the pollution created by some of the richest parts. Global climate change has finally made (some of) us understand we are all in the same boat. Regional anesthesia has a big role to play. Green OR, anesthesia gasses, sustainability and life cycles have all been high on our agenda. It’s also maybe a sign that the WCRAPM is taking place in Paris where the first climate accords were signed.

Additionally, we have suffered hugely due to the pandemic too. Some of you might have lost loved ones, family or friends. COVID-19 again showed us there is no planet B. We are all in this together. And as anesthetists we helped a lot during the viral years! Hastily remodelled PACU’s become intensive care wards. We took up different roles. Regional anesthesia became a hype again and a perfect alternative to intubation and viral transmission. The WCRAPM also got postponed a few times. But now as the world has learned to live with SARS-CoV-2 virus, we are turning the page and are finally meeting our friends from all continents again.

Diversity, gender equality and participation has also radically changed our perception since the last world congress. Movements like Black Lives Matter and Me-too, have also opened our eyes to problems we did not see (or want to see). As anesthetists and medical professionals we have taken up this responsibility. Gone are the days of the manels. We now see so many fantastic initiatives like #heforshe #thisGirlBlocks. There is research and articles on gender distribution and equality. We still have a long way to go. But certainly we are on the right track. We as regional specialists are on the forefront of these changes, we should be proud, but not complacent. We need to step up and make sure we stay firm ahead of the rest. This world congress again is the perfect spot for that. The scientific committee with Eleni Moka and Alain Delbos have made sure diversity and equality are as important as quality. They have done a tremendous job as all of you will soon see in Paris !

The war in Ukraine also demonstrated how intertwined our planet is. Shortages in medicine, supplies. Rises in energy prices, inflation. But even worse, due to the difficult COVID years we have lost personnel, nurses, doctors…. This shortage of staff will be a tremendous challenge in the future. We are looking at an ever-increasing workload with a lot less wo(man)power.

With all these difficulties and changes, the organisational committee of WCRAPM has decided to add a new and exciting feature to the world congress. The amabassador function. For every continent a few selected people will report about all the specific problems and interesting talks concerning the different societies. LASRA, AFSRA, AOSRA-PM, ASRA Pain medecine and ESRA. We have tried to be as diverse as possible when selecting these ambassadors. Each of them will try to represent their continent and post on social media leading up to the world congress and during the event.

Today we present three Ambassadors.
Melody Herman for ASRA Pain Medicine , Balavenkat Subramanian for AOSRA-PM and Celeste Quan for AFSRA.

Melody Herman. Twitter: @anesthesiadocmd

I am the Director of Regional Anesthesiology at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina – the region’s only level 1 trauma hospital. I completed my anesthesiology residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and regional anesthesiology and acute pain fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The thing I love most about regional anesthesia in the trauma population is the creativity and a myriad of approaches to achieve analgesia.   Many of our patients have multiple sites of injury that would benefit from regional anesthesia, complex medical histories, and limited mobility.  This requires a solid understanding of anatomy and thinking outside of the box to deliver high quality regional anesthesia to our patients.  We’ve also formed an interdepartmental collaboration with our Emergency Medicine colleagues where they teach us point of care ultrasound and we teach them blocks for hip and rib fractures.

This is my first year contributing as faculty for the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia (ESRA) World Congress and I am delighted for the opportunity.  I participate in the American Society of Regional Anesthesia (ASRA), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and North Carolina Society of Anesthesiologists (NCSA) annual conferences.  I am associate faculty for American Society of Regional Anesthesia (ASRA) Pain Medicine, previous newsletter liaison for ASRA Pain Medicine’s Private Practice Special Interest Group, Chair-elect for the ASRA Private Practice SIG (2024-2026), a member of the ASRA Pain Medicine Website and Social Media Committee, on the planning committee for the ASRA Pain Medicine 2024 conference and serve as the United States representative for the ESRA International Committee.

When I’m not working, I enjoy creating educational and entertaining short form videos for TikTok and Twitter, camping in the mountains with my children, and axe throwing.

Balavenkata Subramanian. Twitter: @BalavenkatSubr1

I am working in Ganga Hospital, a 650 bedded Private Teaching Hospital specialising in Trauma, Orthopaedics, Spine, Microvascular surgery including replantations. We have 38 Operating rooms and we average around 125 surgeries per day. Anaesthesiologists play the role of perioperative physicians. We are passionate in teaching and sharing concepts about various facets of Regional Anaesthesia through conducting several hands-on workshops across the country.

Hobbies include listening to music and reading books on leadership and administration.

Dr J Balavenkata Subramanian MD Senior Consultant & Academic Director, Department of Anaesthesia & Perioperative Care, Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore, India
Founder President & Current National Chairman, Academy of Regional Anaesthesia of India
Immediate Past President & Current Academic Chairman, Asian Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine
Program Head, WFSA- Ganga Hospital, Regional Anaesthesia Fellowship Program since 2014, trains 4 International Fellows every year
Member, Educational Committee of World Federation of Society of Anaesthesiologists 2020-24
Regional Anaesthesia Track Co-chair, World Congress of Anaesthesia 2024, Singapore
Associate Editor, Journal of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Course Director
Post Doctoral Fellowship in Nerve Block & Pain Management, Dr MGR Medical University
Program Head, Regional Anaesthesia Fellowship Program at Ganga Hospital
This program trains 68 Indian Anaesthesiologists every year in USGRA
Governing Council Member, Indian Society of Anaesthesiologists from 2019-24

Celeste Barrow. Twitter: @BarrowCeleste

I am a senior anaesthetic consultant based at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa and part-time, in private practice. I have an interest in ultrasound guided regional anaesthesia and perioperative ultrasound. I also have a passion for teaching because “to teach is to learn twice.”

My undergraduate and specialist medical training was done in Johannesburg at the University of the Witwatersrand, separated by a stint in the United Kingdom. I completed my Diploma in Regional Anaesthesia from Montpellier University in 2011, whilst living and working in Dubai. I am a past-president and member of SASRA (South African Society of Regional Anaesthesia).

I have been back in South Africa since 2012 and subsequently obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Sciences Education. I have facilitated and organized several regional anaesthesia and ultrasound workshops and have presented at various national meetings. I think I could describe myself as somewhat of a global citizen! I am third generation Chinese of Cantonese origin. I am married to a South African of English and Scottish heritage, and I have an Afrikaans brother-in-law. However, I am, without question, supporting South Africa at the Rugby World Cup!

The WCRAPM with the social events and the possibility of everybody to connect again will be truly unforgettable. I expect everybody remotely interested in regional anesthesia to uncheck everything in your agenda and be in Paris in September!

The recording mentioned in the beginning of my article couldn’t have been more wrong !!!! We are NOT the world… We HAVE the world. Let’s preserve it and be thankful for the gift. This gift is only a short moment in our hands and we in time will give it to our children, our fellows, our residents. Let’s preserve this gift, wrap it up in love and spread the education. Starting in Paris. Next…the world.

Topics: Climate change , Diversity , ESRA Congress , COVID-19

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