MCW Master of Science in Anesthesia Program

Training and developing the next generation of anesthesia providers

Full Project Name:Developing a Master of Science in Anesthesia (MSA) at MCWPrincipal Investigator:Lois Connolly, MD, AnesthesiologyCo-Investigator:Judy R. Kersten, MD, Anesthesiology; Thomas J. Ebert, MD, PhD, AnesthesiologyAward Amount:$969,426
Award Date
April2015
Project Duration:48 months

Project Description Narrative:


In the Midwest, 80 percent of health care facilities report the need for additional anesthesiologists and certified nurse anesthetists. Many rural areas are in especially great need due to a significant proportion of anesthesia providers living and working in urban locations. The current shortage and maldistribution of anesthesia specialists is expected to worsen in coming years. While the static number of residency positions is a barrier for filling the anesthesia shortage with physicians, anesthesiology assistants are exempt from that requirement and can provide cost-efficient anesthesia care in a physician-led care model.

Currently, Wisconsin residents interested in becoming anesthesiology assistants have to leave the state for training, increasing the likelihood that some graduates may not return to Wisconsin to practice. This project aims to foster growth in the number of anesthesia providers in Wisconsin and address provider disparity between rural and urban areas by increasing the number of well-qualified anesthesia care providers in Wisconsin through the development of an innovative Master of Science in Anesthesia (MSA) Program at MCW.

Project Updates:


• Identified focus on interprofessional training, research and patient safety to develop MSA program within MCW to train and retain anesthesia providers prepared to meet Wisconsin&s evolving needs

• Selected and enrolled 12 students as first class and recruited 10 certified anesthesiology assistants as faculty, maintaining a 100% retention rate

• Identified clinical settings for student training

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