University of Rochester Medical Center Names New Chair of Anesthesiology

August 28, 2008

Denham Ward, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Engineering and Anesthesiology, and former chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, has been named chair of Anesthesiology of the University of Rochester Medical Center for a three-year term, effective immediately. He succeeds James Robotham, M.D., who recently stepped down as chair to focus on his research.

An internationally recognized expert in the field of anesthesiology, Ward is returning to a role he knows well: In 1992, he was recruited to Rochester to lead the Department of Anesthesiology, a position he held for close to a decade. During his tenure, he helped to create one of the first international conferences in the use of simulation in Anesthesiology education, led the reorganization and strengthening of the Department’s residency program, and co-authored a text book on operating room management.

Ward stepped down as chair in 2001, and while on sabbatical at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, continued his study on the control of breathing, and also edited a major book, “Pharmacology and Pathophysiology of the Control of Breathing.” After returning to Rochester, he continued his funded research with a study of the effects of low and high glucose levels on breathing, and his laboratory continued investigations relating to obstructive sleep apnea.

Ward holds a Ph.D. in systems science from UCLA, as well as a medical degree from the University of Miami. He served his residency training in anesthesiology and subsequently held various clinical and administrative positions at UCLA, including director of its residency program in anesthesiology, before being recruited to the University of Rochester.

In 2006, Ward was named associate dean for Faculty Development-Medical Education, charged with developing programs and training sessions to improve School of Medicine faculty’s teaching skills at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Ward will continue in this role.

“Dr. Ward is the natural choice to lead the Department of Anesthesia,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “He is familiar with the challenges faced by the Department and has an exciting vision for the future. His substantial administrative experience, creativity and drive, bolstered by the support of departmental faculty, will assure success in achieving this vision. His leadership abilities were clearly evident in his many accomplishments as prior chair, and also in his more recent role as associate dean for Faculty Development, where he has produced tangible and meaningful results in just two short years. We are fortunate that there was no need to look further than our own faculty ranks to find such a talented and seasoned administrator to help lead the Department of Anesthesiolgy.”

With more than 60 peer-reviewed research publications and numerous book chapters and review papers to his credit, Ward is internationally recognized for his expertise in the pharmacology of the control of breathing and clinically for the anesthetic management of patients with sleep apnea and for patients undergoing thoracic surgery. He has been active in many professional organizations and currently serves as vice chair of the board of directors of the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research. Over the years, Ward has been honored with several teaching awards and this past spring was inducted as a Distinguished Engineer in the Francis Crowe Society at his undergraduate alma matar, the University of Maine.

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