Welcome to the CSA History of Anesthesia Timeline

  • Moon, Jane, MD
| Jul 15, 2019

JMoon croppedBy Jane Moon, MD, and Merlin Larson, MD

We are quite excited to introduce to you our new CSA History of Anesthesia Committee, which was approved as a standing committee of the CSA by the Board of Directors and affirmed by the CSA House of Delegates in June. 

We are a group of anesthesiologists who believe that history can inspire gratitude and awe, teach lessons, and help us live more fully in the present.  We originally started as the Task Force on the History of Anesthesia in California, with a mission "to preserve the history of anesthesia as developed by California physician anesthesiologists, and to disseminate this information to the public and to the anesthesia community." 

To carry out our mission, our original Task Force had two concrete goals: 1) To create a timeline of key achievements by California anesthesiologists in order to celebrate our rich and unique regional history; 2) To bring some of this history to life by posting original documents from the Arthur E. Guedel Anesthesia Collection at the UCSF Archives onto Calisphere, the UC system's digital library that is accessible to all.  

The timeline that we share with you today represents the fulfillment of our first goal.   All of the academic departments of anesthesiology in California were invited to participate, and the beauty of the project is that it can continue to be expanded and modified.  We are especially proud to introduce this timeline during a time when morale among physician anesthesiologists may be low. It helps remind us of the incredible advances that our fellow anesthesiologists have achieved for perioperative care, patient safety, and for the overall progress of medicine.  This timeline, in being state-specific, should give us all a sense of regional pride, and highlight important achievements that may go less noticed in more traditional accounts of anesthesia history. 

This summer, we will be meeting for the first time at the UCSF Library, home of the Arthur E. Guedel Anesthesia Collection, as the official CSA History of Anesthesia committee.  This group will be composed of prior members of the Task Force, as well as several new ones.  While we will carry on the original spirit and mission of the Task Force in this committee, we also look forward to exploring new ways to share the fascinating heritage of anesthesiologists in our state with all interested parties.  One of our first projects will be to sort through the many wonderful contributions from current and former CSA members to add to the CSA online History tab.  If interested in joining us, please contact Merlin Larson, MD, at merlin.larson@ucsf.edu.


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