It is with great excitement and honor that I introduce myself as the new Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at UAB. I am grateful to be part of a rich tradition of esteemed chairs who have built this Department to its current state of excellence. The Department is humming. The clinical operation has grown dramatically, providing service to multiple anesthetizing locations. The incorporation of ERAS protocols, and a dashboard that measures quality metrics in real time, ensures the highest-quality patient care and efficiency. We direct and provide care in most of the ICUs in the institution and are dedicated to preoperative evaluation, habilitation, and optimization in our PACT. Both the translational and clinical research enterprise receives more than $5 million in funding from the NIH, making it a top 10 department in the country. Our resident and fellow education is legendary and progressive, ensuring that we train outstanding consultants who become leaders in our field.

During the transition, Dr. Juhan Paiste ran the Department as the interim chair with dedication and integrity. Moreover, his commitment to a smooth and easy transition and onboarding has been impressive. And so, as we transition, we look to the future. What will the Department look like in five years? What will the specialty look like? William Bridges states: “Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events but rather the inner reorientation or self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.” And so, as we transition to the next era of UAB Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, we need to be bold and innovative in our thinking. Our goal will be to integrate research, education, and clinical care to drive patient-centered precision medicine. We will use the new tools of data science to more precisely guide therapy and predict outcomes. The development of ever-more sophisticated sensors, the cloud, and smartphones will change the way we assess patients preoperatively and follow them postoperatively. Our translational research will incorporate new paradigms in biology: the microbiome and other “omes,” optogenetics, and we will focus on big problems including organ injury, pain, and cardiovascular disease. We will do all of these things even as resources become more limited. We will lead by empowerment and cultivate optimism and hope.

These are exciting times in our Department and the specialty. But our reputation and future rests also with you, our alumni, who continue to help shape our Department’s tremendous success. We invite you to ride along with us as we celebrate the future of UAB Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: or 205-934-6007. I look forward to meeting with you as we forge the exhilarating and innovative path ahead.

Dan E. Berkowitz, MB BCh
Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
University of Alabama at Birmingham