Education & Training

For more than 40 years, Duke Anesthesiology has fostered the development of world-class physicians committed not only to clinical excellence and research, but also to a zealous, lifelong pursuit of learning.

Our nationally-acclaimed training program is fueled by the passion and dedication of our faculty. We attract the most promising residents and fellows who are trained by superior clinicians. The primary goals of the program are to provide the best educational experience in anesthesiology and related disciplines, expose trainees to diverse clinical areas and services, and provide the tools that will train individuals to become leaders in health care and improve patients’ quality of life.

We are fortunate to be able to recruit top-notch residents from across the world. Each year, the Duke Anesthesiology Residency Program receives about 1,000 applications; roughly 120 of these applicants are selected to interview for one of the 15 intern positions available.

Dedicated mentorship is integral to our program’s success. Despite the tremendous growth in clinical operations (there are now roughly 70 anesthetizing locations), we have intentionally kept our residency program medium-sized so that each resident can receive personalized attention, as well as excellent case volume and complexity. This allows residents to handle their own cases, providing each trainee with the greatest amount of hands-on experience possible. Trainees benefit from the subspecialized clinical structure of the department and the guidance of program leaders and faculty mentors in each subspecialty. CA-3 residents are able to tailor their final year of training toward their career ambitions, and some residents engage in research projects. Consequently, our residents are very confident in their ability to work independently in any setting once they graduate from the program.

Our residency program boasts a department-sponsored internship program. Interns rotate on a variety of services, including medicine, surgery, pediatrics, critical care and emergency medicine. In addition, they can take advantage of the expertise of other Duke departments and are usually able to rotate on three anesthesia electives – acute pain service, hyperbaric & undersea medicine, and a general anesthesia rotation.

Our innovative curriculum program, known as ACES (Academic Career Enrichment Scholars), received approval from the American Board of Anesthesiology and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in 2009. This highly selective program is intended to increase the number of graduates pursuing academic careers and help them gain status as independently-funded researchers; it matches up to two residents per year.

Duke Anesthesiology’s fellowship programs have also experienced similar growth, creating the need for a director of fellowship education, a position currently held by Mark Stafford Smith, MD, CM, FRCPC. The department has ten fellowship programs: Adult Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology, directed by Dr. Brandi Bottiger; Anesthesia Global Health, directed by Dr. Adeyemi Olufolabi; Critical Care Medicine, directed by Dr. Christopher Young; Neurosurgical Anesthesiology, directed by Dr. Colleen Moran; Obstetric Anesthesia, directed by Dr. Jennifer Dominguez; Pain Medicine, directed by Dr. Lance Roy; Pediatric Anesthesiology directed by Dr. John Eck; Perioperative Medicine, directed by Dr. Timothy Miller; Regional Anesthesiology & Acute Pain Medicine, directed by Dr. Jeffrey Gadsden; and Undersea & Hyperbaric Medicine directed by Dr. John Freiberger.

These programs have grown enormously in size and academic output since the department’s first fellowship—Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology—was inaugurated in 1984. As our most mature program, Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology has experienced great success, gaining international recognition for its proficiency in teaching transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). Training in TEE has recently been expanded to the Critical Care Medicine fellowship program as well. Furthermore, Duke Anesthesiology, which is known for pioneering the use of ultrasound in regional anesthesia and peripheral nerve catheters for ambulatory regional analgesia, has a tremendously successful Regional & Ambulatory Anesthesia fellowship program that continues to gain in popularity each year.

Duke Anesthesiology offers a variety of opportunities for practicing physicians to gain continuing medical education (CME) credit through internal lectures and conferences, as well as external educational programs that highlight the department’s expertise in many subspecialties. Two of our most sought after programs are the visiting preceptorship in intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography courses (designed for physicians involved in perioperative care of patients with cardiovascular disease) and the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA®) simulation courses; our approval as a simulation training site by the American Board of Anesthesiology’s mandatory MOCA process attracts a large number of anesthesiologists to Duke. Internally, our department’s marquee event is the weekly anesthesia grand rounds lectures, which is complemented by a range of subspecialty conferences hosted by every division in the department.

Duke Anesthesiology fosters a unique and innovative educational environment that encourages physicians to devote their careers to the quest of knowledge and actively participate in shaping the next generation of learners. The use of technology in education has historically been one of our greatest strengths. Dr. Jeffrey Taekman serves as the assistant dean of educational technology at the Duke University School of Medicine, and the director of Duke’s Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center (HSPSC). This educational center and applied safety laboratory was created in 2001 and is now recognized internationally for advancing education through state-of-the-art technologies in simulation. The HSPSC is the result of a joint effort by three groups at Duke: the School of Nursing, which provided the center’s first high fidelity simulator; the School of Medicine, which furnished the funds necessary to renovate the space; and Duke Anesthesiology, which provided the faculty, research, support staff and curriculum development for the unit. In addition to training medical school students, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians, the HSPSC focuses on human factors engineering and qualitative research. Through leadership of the HSPSC, Dr. Taekman and his team have dramatically increased both interest and investment in educational technology at Duke.

In 2009, Dr. Taekman and former project manager, Michael Steele, spearheaded an initiative called Immersive Learning Environments at Duke (ILE@D). Their grand vision was to build an educational framework (using immersive learning in virtual training) to support a variety of inter-professional health care training scenarios. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to be a hub of virtual health care education. Seven years after its launch, our department advanced ILE@D to the next level by officially implementing it into the Duke School of Medicine’s curriculum and in a Massive Open Online Course on Coursera. Duke Anesthesiology currently offers virtual environments through the use of 3DiTeams, a first person video game that creates an interactive environment in which trainees care for patients and hone their communication skills in a clinical setting.

A strong emphasis on the use of virtual environments, combined with simulation, not only provides a fun and interactive learning environment, it also enables trainees and practicing physicians to gain important skills needed to respond to real life crises. We will continue to develop simulation and the use of virtual environments in the new Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education.

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