In 2007, MSA President Mark D. Hershey, MD, and the Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Stephen O. Heard, MD, collaborated to inaugurate the first annual New England Anesthesia Residents Conference or NEARC. In their first invitation letter to Residents and Program directors they stated:
“The University of Massachusetts Medical School in conjunction with the Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists will hold a New England Anesthesia Residents Conference (NEARC). We hope that this event will be the start of an annual conference hosted by different training programs in New England on a rotating basis. Other training programs around the country have banded together to hold such conferences with great success. We wish to replicate that success in the New England area and provide a forum for residents to present to a wider audience.”
The first NEARC was held at UMASS on April 7, 2007 with great success and attendance. This conference has continued annually in the Spring ever since at different host institutions. These Institutions include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and now, in 2012, Fletcher Allen Health Care at the University of Vermont. NEARC is a meeting organized by or with Anesthesiology Residents’ input for Anesthesiology Residents.
The NEARC provides a much needed regional opportunity for residents to present their scholarly work to their peers, irrespective of the larger national and international professional meetings, and to benefit from educational lectures that are part of the conference. It allows residents of host institutions to participate in conference organization, and offers participating faculty to serve as lecturers and session chairs, the latter often as a multi-institutional effort.
It is the intent for the NEARC to further evolve into an organized, predictable annual academic event, with support and input from all New England Anesthesiology Residency Programs and State Anesthesiology Societies. In addition NEARC strives to be useful to each participating program in satisfying their residency scholarly activity requirements stipulated by the ACGME.
To date (2011), host institutions for NEARC have been identified by word-of-mouth from conference to conference. Each institution individually organized this conference without much guidance other than their prior experience of participation and verbal exchanges with past organizers, leaving much of the organizational strategy to annual ‘re-invention’ by each host. A formal NEARC rotation schedule to the various New England Anesthesiology Programs has yet to be formed, financial contributions to NEARC by New England State Anesthesiology Societies and the ASA are in need of definition and commitment, and dissemination of timely NEARC information to all New England Anesthesiology Programs has remained a challenge.