On June 19, 2021, members of the Department of Anesthesiology gathered at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, to recognize the graduating class of residents. During the event, Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA, head of the department, took to the field to address the class:
“The 2021 class of graduating residents will be partly defined by your experiences as anesthesiologists during a raging pandemic. You will forever reflect on this remarkable time in your lives in which you honed and mastered your skills despite substantial challenges, and those of us who have been privileged to be your faculty members and mentors will forever remember your heroism and dedication.”
In addition to presenting awards to this year’s outstanding teacher award recipient and to several trainee award recipients, Avidan also paused to recognize the accomplishments of several members of the graduating class individually.
Program Director Douglas Thompson, MD, highlighted the collective accomplishments of the class of 2021.
“Together, as a class you performed over 24,000 cases in the operating rooms. You participated in over 400 organ transplants, placed over 1,300 central lines, 1,900 arterial lines, over 10,000 airways, over 3,300 peripheral nerve blocks, and over 2,000 neuraxial blocks – and this doesn’t even include the patients you cared for in the ICUs or in the Pain Clinic. You have made an indelible impact on your patients and our community. I am, we are incredibly proud of all you have achieved, and we look forward to watching you advance in your careers.
“I know that none of you escaped last year completely unscathed and on behalf of the Department of Anesthesiology and the community at large I want to thank you for the sacrifices you made. We are all here to celebrate you and all you’ve been able to achieve in these unprecedented times.”
It was a fitting end to a tumultuous year, as healthcare systems the world over navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and the United States wrestled with issues of racial justice and healthcare disparities. In recognition of the day, Dr. Avidan paused to reflect on the importance of our newest national holiday, Juneteenth, and the important role all WashU graduates will play in addressing these issues now and in the future. Dr. Avidan concluded: “We are all so proud of what you have achieved, and know that you will represent WashU’s anesthesiology department with professionalism and excellence.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2021!