ABPS Diplomates, Huber Matos MD and Caleb Awoniyi, MD, PhD, FAAA Explain the Vital Role Anesthesiologists Play in the Fight Against COVID-19

Dr. Matos

Without a doubt, 2020 was one of the most difficult years to be an anesthesiologist. The pandemic created a need for versatile and imaginative physician leaders which brought anesthesiologists to the forefront. Healthcare systems, and public officials sought the expertise of anesthesiologists to create a new system of triage, testing, perioperative intensive care, and safety.  The anesthesiologist’s role naturally expanded beyond the operating room, to include managing critically ill patients in emergency rooms, wards, and intensive care units.

Dr. Awoniyi
Dr. Awoniyi

Anesthesiologists are involved in vital and dangerous roles, including airway and ventilator management of critically ill patients. Securing the airway and managing a patient who cannot survive without a ventilator is a fundamental skill of the anesthesiologist. Their extensive exposure with patients’ airways in particular tracheal intubation places them at high risk for acquiring the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, early in the pandemic some anesthesiologists lost their lives due to lack of understanding with regards to disease spread and lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Anesthesiologists are facing erratic work schedules, frequent night shifts, and longer workdays. Working longer hours without relief and seeing so many COVID-19 patients die alone without their loved ones can take a serious emotional toll. This added stress has contributed to the development of chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep deprivation, mood swings, and many other mental and physical health problems.  Still, they continue to provide comfort to patients and their families.

Despite the many challenges and increased risks, anesthesiologists continue to prioritize patient care, fill roles that did not exist and solve unfamiliar problems. They have risen to the leadership challenges posed by the pandemic and demonstrated their abilities as physicians and true critical care specialists.

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June 10-15, 2022
Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine