Department of Anesthesiology

Obstetric Division

Obstetric Division

Obstetric division members

The Division of Obstetric Anesthesiology is dedicated to excellence in patient care, education and research for pregnant women and their babies. The members of this Division see these tasks as inter-related and inseparable, within the overall missions of the Anesthesiology Department and the University of Rochester Medical Center. Over 3,000 babies are born at Strong Memorial Hospital each year. During the past two years, 35 percent of deliveries were performed by cesarean section. The majority of parturients select neuraxial analgesia during labor.

Strong Memorial Hospital is the designated Regional Perinatal Center for the New York State Finger Lakes Region, providing specialized perinatal care for high risk pregnancies. Therefore, residents gain extensive experience with both healthy and critically ill parturients. The core curriculum in OB anesthesiology consists of weekday academic sessions provided by faculty, based on daily reading assignments. This curriculum functions in parallel with the many educational opportunities on this busy clinical service. Residents gain a thorough understanding of maternal/fetal physiology and pharmacology, safe and effective clinical management of high-risk parturients, and perioperative care of coexisting diseases that occur during pregnancy. Senior residents electing additional experience in OB anesthesiology participate in an advanced curriculum. Many opportunities exist for resident participation in ongoing clinical research, if desired.

The OB Anesthesiology Division participates in several formal medical student educational programs, as well as clinical teaching of medical students on other OB and anesthesiology assignments. The School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) has a formal elective in "Obstetric Anesthesiology", ANS-603. Dr. Wissler designed and implemented this medical student elective in 1994, and has directed it since. The annual enrollment for ANS 603 has varied from 12 to 14 medical students in recent years.

In the "Double Helix Curriculum" of the SMD, the third-year medical students have a two week period of "advanced basic science" following each ten-week clinical core clerkship. The basic science course that follows the Women's and Children's Health Clerkship is entitled "Genes to Generations". In 2001, Dr. Wissler designed a one-day course on "Obstetrical Anesthesia" for the "Genes to Generations" course, and he has taught it four times per year since then. This course uses the student's recent clinical observations of labor pain and cesarean sections as a springboard to discussions of the underlying anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. The format includes multi-station demonstrations, case discussions and student presentations. In addition, the medical students enrolled in the Department of Anesthesiology summer fellowship program rotate on several subspecialty services, including OB Anesthesiology.

The Division of Obstetric Anesthesiology offers a 12-month clinical fellowship in OB Anesthesiology at the CA-4 level. The emphasis of the fellowship is on individual educational programs based on the career goals of each fellow. Components of a fellow's educational program may include patient care, supervision of residents and medical students, didactic teaching in our daily OB Anesthesiology conferences, clinical research, and administration. Fellows with an interest in laboratory research are encouraged to apply, provided they are willing to invest a minimum of 24 months in academic development in this area. The goal of the fellowship is to provide the best possible educational experience for the next generation of leaders in OB anesthesiology.

The OB Anesthesiology Division continues to be an active participant in interdisciplinary OB patient safety initiatives at SMH.

Division Highlights

  • Provide specialized perinatal care for high risk pregnancies
  • Offers a 12-month clinical fellowship in OB anesthesia at the CA-4 level