The Medical College of Wisconsin has announced a new, 28-month, Master of Science in Anesthesia – Anesthesiologist Assistant Program through its medical school on the Wauwatosa campus. MCW is expected to be the first program in the state, and one of 11 nationwide, to train anesthesiologist assistants, who will work under the direction of leading physician anesthesiologists after graduation.
The program is anticipated to welcome its inaugural class in August of 2016, with a capacity of 10 to 16 students.
“A major benefit for students in this program is being trained directly by leading physicians, as well as learning alongside medical students in select classes,” said Dr. Lois Connolly, a professor in the department of anesthesiology at MCW. “There is also a strong demand for anesthesiologist assistants to help fill staffing shortages for anesthesiologists, which means that graduating students will enjoy strong job prospects.”
Serving in a role similar to a physician’s assistant, licensed anesthesiologist assistants can practice in 16 states and in any federal health care environment, except the military.
The initial funding for the development of the new program is provided by a grant from the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment. The AHW endowment, stewarded by MCW, has provided more than 300 awards totaling more than $160 million to advance the health of Wisconsin through community health improvement, research and education.
MCW’s department of anesthesiology was established in 1957 as a division of the department of surgery. By 1965, anesthesiology had become an independent department. Since then, the scope of resident and fellowship training, research and patient care has continually increased. Approximately 100 interns, residents and fellows are involved in training annually. Both clinical and research faculty pursue clinical and scientific research.