Didactic Program

Introductory Courses

Our rich didactic program begins with a month-long introductory course. New CA-1 residents have daily reading assignments, which are discussed in depth at daily seminars led by faculty members. With faculty administering anesthesia in the operating rooms, resident attendance at luncheon conferences is assured. The seminars are designed to give the resident a grasp of the basic concepts in anesthesia. The introductory course has proven successful as a comprehensive foundation for residents beginning clinical training. There are also weekly small group “out-of-OR” learning sessions on topics such as the anesthesia machine, the airway laboratory, preoperative evaluation, and the post-anesthesia care unit. These sessions are popular with CA-1 residents and help smooth the transition from internship to anesthesia residency. 

Ongoing Didactics and Simulation

The core of the didactic program is the Residents’ Conference, held four to five times a week. Attendance by junior and senior faculty is expected. The seminar series includes practice oral board examinations conducted by examiners from the American Board of Anesthesiology; presentation of key topics in anesthesia by residents as preparation for in-training examinations; subspecialty lectures by invited faculty from cardiology, nephrology, infectious diseases, and the blood bank; written board preparation presented by faculty; and a lecture series on transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiography. Interactive sessions help residents learn to think critically and to apply their knowledge to clinical situations. Another integral part of the education program is the series of Grand Rounds and Quality Improvement conferences, which alternate weekly. Grand Rounds is a forum for the latest thinking on a wide range of topics in the practice of anesthesia. In Quality Improvement conferences, led by Drs. Tung and Rubin, selected cases are presented by the attendings and residents who performed them, with the goal of identifying the best methods of case management. Journal Club, led by full professors, challenges residents and faculty alike to critically appraise the current literature in the specialty. Participation by the whole department enriches discussion and diversity of opinion and expertise. The skills to evaluate the literature are emphasized for sound evidence-based practice. Simulation exercises are increasing. Monthly subspecialty simulations are conducted in obstetric anesthesia, pain medicine, and pediatric anesthesia; general anesthesia simulations are presented throughout the year at both the University of Chicago and NorthShore University. Central line training by our critical care anesthesiologists occurs monthly, and ultrasound workshops by our regional anesthesia faculty are presented formailly twice a year, though practiced daily in the operating rooms. 


A special feature of the didactic program is the transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) rotation directed by Dr. Frank Dupont. Many of our residents have sat for and passed the TEE certifying examination. The department is fortunate to have several TEE machines and access to a cutting-edge TEE simulator for training with our TEE-certified cardiac faculty. This year Dr. Sajid Shahul is continuing both the TEE and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) lecture series to help residents become proficient at intraoperative TEE and competent at bedside TTE examinations. These skills can be practiced daily during ICU, obstetric anesthesia, and cardiac rotations with faculty trained in TEE and TTE. 

Airway Training

The Airway Study and Training Center, under the direction of Dr. Klock, is an educational resource for both basic and advanced airway management. A number of clinical investigations in airway management are currently underway. The Center also has a wide array of materials and opportunities for hands-on use of novel and experimental airway management devices.

Grand Rounds

In the CA-2 year, residents gain experience in researching, preparing, and presenting a Grand Rounds talk on a topic of their choice under the tutelage of a faculty advisor. This lecture series has consistently produced exceptionally high quality and professional presentations for future inclusion in a resident’s curriculum vitae. The department also sponsors lectures by experts, both national and international. Typically 26 distinguished visiting professors are invited to give Grand Rounds, research conferences, and other special lectures each year; residents get an opportunity to interact with national and international leaders in their fields. Departmental morbidity and mortality conferences are also held during Grand Rounds, led by our Quality Chief Dr. Avery Tung, Past President of the Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists.

National Conferences

Our residents attend national and regional conferences throughout their three years. Each year about 10 residents attend the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. That operating rooms are closed during that time to facilitate attendance is evidence of the commitment to education by the institution. Many residents present at the Midwest Anesthesia Residents Conference (MARC) and are award winners. Other well-attended conferences are sponsored by the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesia (SAMBA), the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia (SPA), the Society for Critical Care Anesthesia (SOCCA), and the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP). Our department hosts two continuing medical education conferences every year; many of our residents participate as lecturers or workshop instructors.