Helga Komen, MD

Pod 5 Leader

Dr. Komen completed medical studies and anesthesia training in Rijeka, Croatia. After 10 years of practice in Croatia, she transferred to St. Louis in 2014. She was recruited by, at that time, the Vice-Chancellor for Research at Washington University in St Louis

Since her arrival to the Department of Anesthesiology, she has been actively involved in education, clinical work, and research. Dr. Komen is a member of the Clinician Educator Working Group, and enjoys teaching medical students, residents, and faculty through lectures, workshops, and mentorships.

Most of her clinical time she spends on POD 5, comprised of 20 operating rooms involving neuro, ear/nose/throat, spine, and transplant procedures. She mastered ENT anesthesia and became the difficult airway management expert that is often asked for opinions. She is reviewing cases for Case Review Committee related to this area. Dr. Komen’s research interests include long-acting opioids (Methadone study), low-flow anesthesia, and sustainability in anesthesia practice. She thinks that machine learning is going to play a major role in the future of healthcare, and wants to get involved more in research related to machine learning and anesthesia.

Dr. Komen is an Executive MBA Program candidate at Olin Business School with anticipated graduation in May 2023. She wants to broaden her knowledge and skills in business/leadership in order to become an excellent leader. Dr. Komen firmly believes that creating a positive culture and enhancing teamwork, fostering excellence, supporting innovation and learning, and ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for all the members of the team is key for the sustainable success of her team. She is actively working on it and is always open to constructive feedback.

She is a mother of two children, a son, Fran, and a daughter, Karla, who are college students at BI Norwegian Business School and Penn State University, respectively.

Outside of work and studies, she co-founded Medallion Adventure Club and CROMed-USA, non-profit organizations, and actively participates in their work as a board member. Dr. Komen enjoys art and architecture, and absolutely loves going to the movie theater.