It is with a mixture of sadness, nostalgia, and gratitude that we announce the retirement of the Rudolph L. and Mary Frances Wise Professor of Anesthesiology, Dr. Tom Cox. This will be effective in the new academic year. As the Division Chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology and the Vice Chair for Education in the Anesthesiology Department, Dr. Cox is one of the most influential and impactful leaders at our institution. But even prior to these and other formal leadership roles, Dr. Cox has made substantial and indelible contributions to our Department, WUSM, and SLCH over the last 21 years.
In 1999 Dr. Cox left his private practice anesthesiology group in Cape Girardeau and became a fellow in pediatric anesthesiology in the Washington University Department of Anesthesiology. The following year, he joined our faculty as a pediatric anesthesiologist, and quickly distinguished himself as an outstanding clinician, and as a valued and passionate educator. His accomplishments in education are unparalleled in our department. He has thrice been selected for the prestigious Outstanding Educator Award by the residents in our program, he was the Director of the Anesthesiology Residency Program for 6 years, and for the last decade has been our inaugural Vice Chair for Education. As the Vice Chair for Education, he has strengthened all the education and training programs of our Department and has grown innovative new programs. Notably, he developed the unique ACGME-approved Academic Scholars’ Advancement Program as well as the highly successful Scholars’ Program. These programs have together attracted many talented physicians to anesthesiology, and have helped to entrench Washington University as one of the world’s premier academic anesthesiology departments.
In the course of his career at WashU, Dr. Cox has served numerous important educational roles. In the Medical School, he served as a member of the Curriculum Evaluation Committee and on the Distinguished Faculty Educator Selection Committee. In the Department of Anesthesiology, he served on the Residency Education Committee, the Residency Selection Committee, the Residency Clinical Competency Committee, and has chaired both the Resident Selection Committee and the Resident Education Committee.
He developed our global health initiative in which the Washington University Department of Anesthesiology collaborates with international teaching institutions in Ghana, the Philippines, India, and South Africa to create joint education programs, quality improvement initiatives, and clinical outcomes research, as well as to participate in the education of physicians and nurses in those countries.
As Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Anesthesiology, Tom has developed multi-disciplinary programs in which the education of surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and students overlap. These programs are important first steps toward improving teamwork and collegiality, developing educational programs to teach professionalism and teamwork, and strengthening collaborative culture.
Dr. Cox is truly an international leader and innovator in anesthesiology education who has greatly contributed to training a generation of outstanding clinicians and physician-scientists in the specialty of anesthesiology. His contributions have always been motivated by service and altruism, and he embodies all the attributes of a servant leader. His positive impact on patients, clinicians, and Washington University will be felt for many years to come.
We wish Tom everything of the best in the exciting next phase of his life. We are sure that Tom, Sandy, and their daughters, (Maggie—Katie—Corrine), will enjoy many new adventures as a family. We also know that Tom will continue to have a strong association with our Department and with Washington University and that he will continue to contribute actively to our ongoing successes.
Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA
Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology
Head of the Department of Anesthesiology
Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Alex S. Evers, MD
Henry E. Mallinckrodt Professor of Anesthesiology
Professor of Internal Medicine and Developmental Biology