With a mission to advance the science and practice of regional anesthesia and pain medicine to improve patient outcomes, the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA Pain Medicine) is always looking at innovative, new ways to progress what’s possible. From new guidelines to new courses, first-class annual meetings, and a journal that is well supported, our enthusiastic members and volunteers are devoted to helping patients manage pain effectively. In addition to our two longstanding pillars of research and education, ASRA Pain Medicine has also become involved in advocacy to support physicians in their daily challenges. In June 2022, ASRA Pain Medicine was officially seated in the American Medical Association (AMA).

2023 started off with the publication of the Consensus Guidelines on the Management of the Perioperative Patient on Cannabis and Cannabinoids (Reg Anesth Pain Med 2023;48:97-117). This guideline, the first U.S.-based guideline of its kind, addressed nine questions and provided 21 recommendations, all with 100% consensus. Topics addressed included perioperative screening, postponement of elective surgery, concomitant use of opioid and cannabis perioperatively, implications for parturients, adjustment in anesthetic and analgesics intraoperatively, postoperative monitoring, cannabis use disorder, and postoperative concerns. Other key guidelines published in 2023 include Evidence-Based Consensus Guidelines on Patient Selection and Trial Stimulation for Spinal Cord Stimulation Therapy for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain (Reg Anesth Pain Med 2023;48:273-87), Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines on Postdural Puncture Headache: A Consensus Report From a Multisociety International Working Group (Reg Anesth Pain Med 2023), and the Standardizing Nomenclature In Regional Anesthesia: An ASRA-ESRA Delphi Consensus Study of Upper and Lower Limb Nerve Blocks (Reg Anesth Pain Med November 2023).

Creating future leaders is an integral part of advancing the field and the specialty. In November 2023, prior to the 22nd Annual Pain Medicine Meeting, ASRA Pain Medicine and the Association of Pain Program Directors held an Advanced Interventional Pain Management Course and Workshop for Fellows. This event covered some of the most relevant and popular topics in pain to prepare fellows and enhance their current skills for practice. In addition, a medical education master class on leadership and management was offered to pain program directors.

Our Resident Section Committee (RSC) continues to innovate and enhance the offerings for our trainee members. Through program director meet-and-greet opportunities, panel discussions with rising and graduated fellows, and eight subgroups ranging from advocacy to career development and networking, the RSC provides a unique platform for trainees at all levels to get involved and nurture their professional development growth. Furthermore, to develop future leaders we also have a resident section representative (Lee Tian, MD) for the AMA. For additional information on this initiative, please visit the trainee page of our website.

The award-winning ASRA Pain Medicine Mentor Match program, created by the Physician Mentorship and Leadership Development Special Interest Group, has provided a platform for mentorship, sponsorship, and relationship-building within our society. This is yet another opportunity for leadership and career growth. In 2022, 90% of the Mentor Match mentees felt that their mentoring relationship improved their career success. This is a testament to the quality and value of this program.

In December 2023, the first Advanced Perioperative Point-of-Care (POCUS) Ultrasound Course, led by Hari Kalagara, MD, from Mayo Clinic, took place in San Diego, California. The much-anticipated course was created in response to the demand for an advanced course. In addition to the various lectures and hands-on stations, participants left with “real world” applications of focused cardiac ultrasound and advanced Focus-Assessed Transthoracic Echocardiography (FATE) certification.

It will be another exciting year in 2024 that further expands our commitment to effective pain management and moving the needle forward. The 49th Annual Regional Anesthesiology and Acute Pain Medicine Meeting, taking place March 21-23, 2024, in San Diego, California, will focus on “Precise, Practical, Personalized, and Patient-Centered” pain management. Meeting Chair Ki Jinn Chin, MBBS, MMed, FANZCA, FRCPC, from Toronto Western Hospital, notes, “Each of us, patient and practitioner, are unique individuals with unique needs. The emphasis is thus very much centered on clinical decision-making in regional anesthesia and advanced pain management that takes the latest scientific knowledge and techniques, and personalizes care to the patient, the scenario, and the setting.” The program will feature live demonstrations and hands-on workshops for regional anesthesia and POCUS, patient perspectives on dealing with acute pain, the role of different interventions and management strategies, and the importance of a collaborative approach for optimal care. We hope you can attend this meeting and spend time with colleagues and friends.

ASRA Pain Medicine currently has 25 special interest groups (SIGs), including Green Anesthesia, Neuromodulation, Opioid Safety and Substance Use Disorder, Pediatric Regional Anesthesia and Pain Management, and Private Practice. The Opioid Safety and Substance Use Disorder SIG, led by Ariana Nelson, MD, and Sudheer Potru, DO, hosted the Perioperative and Outpatient Management of Patients with Substance Use Disorder Symposium, a virtual event in December that met the requirements for the Medication Access and Training Expansion (MATE) Act. Our newest group, the Diversity SIG, promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in regional anesthesiology and pain medicine and fosters a culture of equity, inclusiveness, and support for underrepresented members of ASRA Pain Medicine. Led by Uchenna O. Umeh, MD, and Kethy Jules-Elysee, MD, both from Hospital for Special Surgery, this SIG is continuously working to create content for educating members while cultivating a welcoming environment for everyone. This SIG aligns with our core values and is key in advancing our society.

In fall 2024, the 23rd Annual Pain Medicine Meeting, November 21-23, will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Meeting Chair Christine Hunt, DO, MS, from Mayo Clinic, will offer a program with emphasis on practical applications, combining innovation with clear implementation strategies. For the latest event and education news, be sure to visit our website at asra.com.

Our journal, Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine, continues to provide a platform for scientific discussion and dissemination of evidence-based articles that will improve the efficacy, safety, and practice of all forms of pain medicine, including acute, chronic, regional anesthesia, and transitional pain.

Our vision is to relieve the global burden of pain. We understand at ASRA Pain Medicine that this will not occur without collaboration with national societies such as ASA and with our four international sister societies, including the African Society for Regional Anesthesia (AFSRA), Asian & Oceanic Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (AOSRA-PM), European Society of Regional Anaesthesia & Pain Therapy (ESRA), and the Latin American Society of Regional Anesthesia (LASRA). We continue to strengthen our relationship with these societies and advance with substantial progress in relieving the global burden of pain.

As we start a new year with new possibilities, ASRA Pain Medicine will continue to advance how pain medicine is taught, researched, and practiced throughout the pain continuum.