From the Chair, Dr. Wong

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Iowa. We are extremely proud of our outstanding residency program. Our residency is designed to prepare graduates to be superb perioperative physicians in a variety of settings. 

Approximately 30% of our residents undergo fellowship training after residency; others proceed directly into practice. Our ABA board pass rate is 95% since 2006. Our residents are well trained and prepared for their new practice or fellowship. We are very proud of the positive feedback we receive from residents after they leave our program.

We receive approximately 1,000 resident applications each year and interview approximately 150 of these candidates. We accept 15 PGY1 residents through the match; 80% are US graduates. The remainder are international graduates that typically rank very high in their classes. 

  1. Faculty and teaching: We have more than 80 faculty in operating room anesthesia, including pediatric anesthesia, regional anesthesia, transplant anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia and cardiac anesthesia, among others. Faculty members are evaluated by our residents and students. The commitment of Residency Program Director Michelle Parra, MD, and her educational team is to facilitate the development of our residents' outstanding clinical skills.
  2. Regional anesthesia: Our department performs more than 2,700 regional anesthetics per year; about 25% of our cases receive some type of regional anesthesia. Our residents are extremely comfortable with both neuraxial techniques and upper and lower extremity nerve blocks. Ultrasound machines are available throughout the clinical areas where regional anesthesia is practiced and the number of blocks performed by our residents is usually 2-3 times greater than the minimum required by the ACGME Residency Review Committee. 
  3. Critical care medicine: The department has directed the Surgical and Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (SNICU) for more than 40 years. The Medical Director of the SNICU  is Shawn Simmons, MD, who, along with 11 critical-care-trained anesthesiologists and certified faculty, manages more than 3,100 patients per year. The residents spend 6 months in the ICU during their 4 years of clinical training. The experience gained in the critical care unit has enabled our residents to develop into exceptional perioperative physicians.
  4. Pain management: At University of Iowa, we have outstanding acute and chronic pain management services. Residents assigned to the acute pain management service also perform most of the regional anesthetic techniques for our patients. In addition, we follow many patients with continuous regional anesthetic techniques in the hospital as well as consult for pain management of complex patients.
    Our Pain Management Clinic, located off campus at Iowa River Landing, evaluates approximately 35 to 40 patients per day for various chronic pain conditions under the leadership of Pain Clinic Director Rahul Rastogi, MBBS, MD. Residents interact with pain management fellows and gain valuable experience in chronic pain management.
  5. Pediatric anesthesia: More than 25% of our anesthetics involve children (age <18), and the Stead Family Children's Hospital, which opened in 2017, performs almost 75% of the complex pediatric surgery in the state of Iowa. This facility is consistently nationally ranked in multiple pediatric specialties, and its 8-room operating suite and procedural sedation suites further enhance training opportunities for our residents.
  6. Simulation: The Department of Anesthesia opened the first simulation center at the University of Iowa in the late 1990s. We have an advanced high-fidelity simulation unit housed within the department for easy access by our trainees. We also have an echocardiography simulator that allows our residents to practice TEE examinations 24/7. Simulation-based activities are an integral part of our clinical rotations. 
  7. Research opportunities: Our faculty members are involved in basic, translational, and clinical research. Areas of focus include basic science pain research, clinical neuroanesthesia and cardiovascular research, and health systems/operating room management research. Residents are encouraged to participate in ongoing research. Our residents annually participate in the Midwest Anesthesia Resident's Conference, where they present research and case reports to colleagues from around the Midwest. 

Our goal is to provide a balanced residency experience, to develop distinguished clinical trainees with extensive medical knowledge so that you can become a great perioperative physician.  You will find the University of Iowa an outstanding place to practice and the community a special place to live. 

Cynthia A. Wong, MD
Professor and Chair
Department of Anesthesia
University of Iowa