Department of Anesthesiology Hosts Virtual Anesthesia Residency Conference

COVID-19 has changed the way we perceive and interact with the world around us. Loved ones stay six feet away. Faces are masked. And, our most treasured moments are postponed. But, the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Anesthesiology refused to let COVID-19 take away an annual tradition and chance for residents to showcase their work to broader audiencesthe annual Midwest Anesthesia Residency Conference (MARC).

Each year, current anesthesiology residents create and present posters and presentations on various clinical and research topics at MARC, but, like many large events and gatherings, the 2020 conference was canceled this year in response to COVID-19. Adapting swiftly to the cancellation, the U of M Department of Anesthesiology decided to host the Virtual Anesthesia Residency Conference (VARC) over Zoom on May 30, 2020.

“A lot of different people—our faculty—really stepped up to the plate to pull this event together very quickly,” said Susan Staudt, MD, professor in the Department of Anesthesiology.

The virtual conference consisted of two 1.5-hour sessions. Faculty judges evaluated the residents’ presentations to ascertain the best talks across multiple categories and awarded presentations at the conclusion of the day.

As MARC is typically a regional conference, the U of M was joined by five other universities for VARC. The University of Iowa, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin, Madison campus, University of Utah and Northwestern were all in attendance. Being able to showcase work to a broader, external audience, including residents and faculty from other institutions, is a major benefit of MARC to current residents, so this virtual event was able to provide a similar audience.

Said Assistant Professor Wendy Nguyen, MD, “Unfortunately, we don’t see cancellations in response to COVID-19 ending soon. But, this conference is a great blueprint for what we can achieve in the future.”

Winners are as follows:

  • 1st place
    • Breethaa Selvamani, University of Iowa
    • Dustin Hang, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Avani Patel, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Jennifer Hass, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Litty John, University of Minnesota
    • Jason Hafer, University of Utah
    • Andrew Wheeler, University of Iowa
    • Kyle Bevers, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Kianna Shotorbani, University of Utah
    • Jessie Ba, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
  • 2nd Place
    • Cody Peterson, University of Iowa
    • Andrew Hayden, University of Iowa
    • Brittany Scheider, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Brian Cacioppo, University of Wisconsin, Madison campus
    • Scott Blaine, University of Wisconsin, Madison campus
    • Abdo Barakat, University of Minnesota 
    • John Kuhn, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
  • 3rd place
    • Jerrod Bang, University of Iowa
    • Allison Taylor, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Kyleen Grissom, University of Minnesota
    • Dean Weich, Medical School of Wisconsin Milwaukee
    • Andrew Seong, University of Minnesota
    • Grant Young, University of Iowa
    • Brad Wheeler, University of Iowa
    • Litty John, University of Minnesota
    • John Hartnett, Northwestern

VARC was sponsored by The Wisconsin, Minnesota and Utah Societies of Anesthesiology. Their funding provided the conference with award certificates, commemorative t-shirts for each participant and door prizes for the presenters.