Current Residents

Chief Residents' Welcome Letter

Welcome from the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital! We are pleased and excited that you are considering our program for your residency.

Since its establishment in 1952, the Department of Anesthesiology has been at the forefront of research and clinical anesthesiology. We have produced pioneers in the field, from early visionaries such as Dr. Virginia Apgar and Dr. E.M. Papper, to the leaders of today. Since that time, graduates from our program have continued the Columbia tradition of scholarship and academic excellence. Our alumni have become department chairs, innovators, and leaders in research at some of the most prestigious medical centers in the world.

Our clinical experience is incredibly challenging, varied, engrossing, and rewarding. The majority of your training will take place at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital. Our medical center is an international referral center, specializing in transplantation, cardiac and aortic surgery with a prolific mechanical circulatory support service, as well as hepatobiliary oncology. Perhaps the best part of being an anesthesiology resident at Columbia is working with and learning from some of the brightest minds not only in anesthesiology, but also in medicine and surgery.

As a first-year resident in the Department of Anesthesiology at Columbia, your training begins with an innovative clinical base year, which will include the Surgical-Anesthesia Intensive Care Unit, infectious diseases, hepatobiliary surgery, pediatric cardiology, and quality assurance. These are just some of the rotations during the clinical base year that are unique to our program and which will provide you with the strong foundation in medicine and surgery that is essential to your future career in anesthesiology.

During the clinical anesthesia (CA) years, you will work with patients who are among the most medically complex in the world, and with attendings who are recognized experts in the field, having published key textbooks in liver transplant anesthesia and perioperative echocardiography, among others. As a senior resident, you may choose to complete elective rotations at other institutions in the United States or abroad. Our residents have gone on to premier fellowships in critical care medicine, adult cardiothoracic, transplant, regional, obstetric, and pediatric anesthesiology as well as pain medicine, with many electing to continue training at CUIMC.

Our department also prides itself on the well-established, integrated didactics that occur throughout training. Our faculty is committed to this protected time. Daily morning reports are an integral part of obstetric, pediatric, neurosurgical, pain, and general anesthesia clinical rotations. During critical care rotations, bedside teaching rounds are complemented by multidisciplinary afternoon lectures with a focus on the use of ultrasound for diagnosis. Our cardiothoracic anesthesia rotation includes weekly lectures as well as clinical time dedicated to transesophageal echocardiography and perfusion medicine. To prepare you for your future board exams, objective structured clinical examinations during the cardiothoracic and obstetric rotations will involve ultrasound simulations, case scenarios, and clinical stations to expand on the knowledge you will have gained in the operating rooms. Clinical days are dedicated to mastering difficult airway and complex vascular access techniques. Journal clubs also are integrated within the various clinical rotations.

Class-specific lectures are held daily for CA-1 residents during orientation month, and then weekly for individual CA 1­­­–3 classes for the duration of residency. Topics range from professionalism and public speaking to advanced cardiac monitoring and management of the critically ill obstetric patient. CA-1 residents give weekly lunchtime chief rounds lectures on anesthesia-related topics of their choice, supervised by a faculty mentor. Mock anesthesia oral examinations occur on a 1:1 basis in the operating rooms, during the obstetric anesthesia rotation, and once every spring in place of grand rounds. Throughout the year, Thursday morning grand rounds consist of presentations by distinguished departmental faculty and internationally recognized guest lecturers as well as morbidity/mortality presentations by residents and fellows.

The state-of-the-art Margaret Wood Center for Simulation and Education opened in 2015. The center includes an operating room, a recovery room, an ICU room, a conference debriefing room, a standardized patient/task training room, and an anesthesia workroom. It utilizes advanced computer-driven mannequins that can breathe, talk, and have a pulse. Procedural trainers for a point-of-care ultrasound, echocardiography, central line placement, and bronchoscopy are available. Residents are given protected simulation and ultrasound time to use the Sim center throughout residency for continued skills assessment and improvement. This center also is open to any resident to schedule time for independent study, with IT and simulation support available.

Participation of residents in clinical and basic science research is thoroughly supported by the department and is facilitated by Dr. Charles Emala, Vice Chair for Research. Throughout the year, residents present at and attend every major anesthesiology research meeting including IARS, ASA, ASRA, SPA, SCA, SOAP, SOCCA, and SEA, as well as at related specialty societies such as the ATS. Applicants with a particular interest in research may apply for the Virginia Apgar Scholars Program, an integrated six-year program that provides residents time for research and fellowship under the guidance of a faculty mentor in preperation for academic physician-scientist careers. The department also has a robust NIH T-32 training grant program for residents.

One of the best aspects of training at Columbia is its location in New York City. As a New Yorker, you will have access to some of the best food, culture, parks, and nightlife in the United States. The department hosts a variety of events throughout the year, allowing you to experience this for yourself while socializing with your colleagues. You also will have the opportunity to care for a highly diverse and complex group of patients from all over the world. Our hospital is located in northern Manhattan and is accessible from all five boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island, and Westchester County by subway, car, and bike.

The Columbia Anesthesiology Residency Program offers trainees the opportunity to develop the fundamentals of safe anesthesia practice and leadership skills while caring for some of the sickest patients in the world and learning from experts in anesthesiology, surgery, and medicine. Thank you for considering our program. We look forward to meeting you at one of our interview sessions. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Sincerely,

Giselle Jaconia, MD - Apgar Fellow
Future Plans: Pediatric Anesthesiology at CUIMC

Li He, MD
Future Plans: Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowship 

Harry Wanar, MD
Future Plans: Critical Care Medicine & Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellowships at CUIMC

Joanna L. Mergeche, MD
Future Plans: Private Practice

Chief Residents, 2020-2021

Contact our Chief Residents at anesthesiachiefresidents@cumc.columbia.edu