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Didactic Teaching

Our residency program has generous, dedicated educational time, including a comprehensive didactic conference schedule to provide a solid foundation of anesthesia knowledge and skills. Residents are routinely relieved from clinical duty so that they can attend these afternoon sessions.

The general pattern of didactic courses includes lectures, problem-based discussions, or journal club on Mondays and Tuesdays, Grand Rounds and Morbidity and Mortality conference on Wednesday, and simulation or skills sessions on Thursday. Some Wednesday afternoons are also allocated for further interactive learning opportunities or specialty conferences, such as fiber-optic airway workshops, ACLS and neonatal resuscitation courses, and subspecialty fellowship lectures.

Resident didactic courses are predominantly provided by faculty or guest speakers with expertise in that area.  In some instances, residents are invited to teach with faculty mentorship as part of our “Resident as Teacher” experience.  Formal mock orals exams are held at least twice per year, with ample opportunity for further practice with the four ABA examiners on faculty.


4:30 PM    Resident Didactic Series, Problem-based Discussions, or Journal Club


6:45 AM    Resident-led Keywords Review
4:30 PM    Resident Didactic Series, Problem-based Discussions, or Journal Club


7:00 AM    Department Grand Rounds
7:45 AM    Clinical Conference (M&M)
2:00 PM    Optional Obstetric Anesthesia Conference
4:30 PM    Optional Cardiac or TEE conference


4:30 PM   Immersive Simulation Session or Point-of-care ultrasound/echo session

From August through June, the curriculum is divided into four major categories:

Section 1: Clinical Anesthesia

Afternoon Didactic Series - The afternoon education hour on Mondays and Tuesdays are committed to providing essential information on the fundamentals of anesthesia and perioperative management. Subspecialty divisions give monthly didactics with a focus on the basics of the specialty in the first half of the year and progress to more advanced topics throughout the year. Short (<15 questions) quizzes based on the didactic content of the month are sent to the residents at the end of each month as a self-assessment tool to help trainees stay on track. The lectures are held in the West Campus anesthesia library and are broadcast live to the East Campus anesthesia library. They are also recorded and available for viewing on our own resident education website


Wednesday Advanced Fellowship Lectures - Cardiac and obstetric anesthesia divisions host advanced fellowship lectures for both clinical fellows and residents on these rotations. Management of complex patients encountered in these rotations as well as advances in equipment, research and techniques are discussed. 


Subspecialty Rotation Didactics - Critical care, obstetric anesthesia, and pain medicine have comprehensive lecture series built into each work day.

Section 2: Simulation and Point-of-Care Ultrasound

Thursday afternoon education hours are dedicated to simulation-based teaching. There are two major activities:


Immersive Simulation - Each resident will participate in at least one immersive simulation experience in our state-of-the-art simulation center using a high-fidelity mannequin. Topics covered using simulation include critical and/or rare events (e.g. malignant hyperthermia, airway fire), skills for crisis resource management, and interpersonal communication issues such as disclosure of medical error and anesthesia consultations for complex patient scenarios. CA-3 residents participating in the scenarios will also learn about the basics of medical supervision as they function as attending anesthesiologist to their junior residents and "CRNA actors".

Point-of-care ultrasound - We are proud to offer a longitudinal point-of-care ultrasound/echo curriculum as part of our didactics. Led by Drs. Robina Matyal and Feroze Mahmood and utilizing web-based modules, as well as hands-on practice, residents will learn the physics of ultrasound and “knobology” and progress to the utilization of TEE and TTE. Introductions to regional anesthesia are also included. In addition, during the orientaton days for the CA-1 pain rotations, residents will receive instructions on the use of ultrasound in peripheral nerve blocks in a small group setting.

Section 3: Anesthesia and Practice Management

Each fall prior, to the New England Anesthesia Practice Management Conference, Dr. Pete Panzica leads a short didactic block dedicated to the important concepts of anesthesia practice management. Experts in areas such as billing and anesthesia finance, medicolegal issues, and the organization of anesthesia practices are invited to speak to our trainees. In addition, each CA-3 resident spends a dedicated week as the OR manager at BIDMC or at our community practice location at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham to gain experience in comprehensive perioperative management. Their duties include: managing the OR as the floor runner, working with the perioperative nursing team and surgeons to schedule cases, dealing with emergencies that require anesthesia care, and supervising CRNAs and/or PACU residents.

Section 4: Board Preparation

The final section of the curriculum focuses on board review and test taking strategies. Afternoon didactics in February (prior to the in-service exam) and June are designated as board preparation blocks. The concept of this block is to unfetter the lectures during the year from “teaching to the boards,” while at the same time acknowledging that this is an important component of a resident’s training experience. We are proud of the exceptional board pass rate by our graduates. Questions are grouped by topic area and discussion is facilitated by faculty expert in that area.  High yield topics such as statistics and Ph/Alpha Stat management and test taking strategies are also covered.

 Recent Announcements & Highlights

  • Several residents have been awarded a one month internship at the Harvard Medical School of Public Health as part of the Global Health Initiative.
  • Three of our residents have been selected to attend a focused 2 week research course.
  • Our didactic sessions are undergoing continuous improvement and are focused on interactive learning.
  • Robust keywords sessions are now led by residents.
  • Lectures are now available online the next day.
  • Lectures are conference telecast on both campuses to facilitate interactive learning opportunities.
  • Simulation and web-based teaching is available for an integrated TEE course in CA-2 year.
  • TTE simulation/web course is now available for interested residents.
  • Six residents passed the Basic Echo exam in 2013 (100% pass rate).
  • Faculty members advocate for residents in a competitive job and fellowship market; our graduates get top picks in both areas.
  • Our program provides ample research opportunities and support. The Elective Research Program is a longitudinal program designed to introduce motivated residents to the principles and practice of clinical and translational research.
  • Elective rotation at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital (PGY-4) is available to provide institutional variety and exposure to more cases.
  • Electives are available for heart transplantation and private practice environments at affiliated hospitals
  • Ample teaching opportunities are provided at BIDMC and HMS. A Certificate for Teaching Excellence is awarded to deserving residents upon graduation.

Contact Information

Anesthesia Residency Program
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus/Clinical Center 470
1 Deaconess Road
Boston, MA 02215