For the past 13 years, the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke has flourished under the chairmanship of Mark F. Newman, MD, the Merel H. Harmel Professor of Anesthesiology. With his indomitable spirit, an unwavering commitment to patient care, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge, Dr. Newman has elevated Duke Anesthesiology to be one of the best academic anesthesia departments in the world. In March of 2014, Dr. Newman was elected president of the Duke Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC), which is the faculty practice group for Duke physicians.
“It has been an honor to work with so many great individuals. Duke Anesthesiology clearly has the best team in the game,” says Dr. Newman.
Left to Right: Dr. Mark Newman in the Duke North operating room, Dr. Newman, with daughters Catherine (Duke 2016) and
Sarah (Duke 2007), being honored as the University of Louisville School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Fellow in 2010, and
Dr. Newman in Beijing, China, as the invited speaker for the 12th International Congress of Cardiothoracic and Vascular
Anesthesia in September 2010
A Pioneer in Research
Dr. Newman’s relationship with Duke University began in 1988 when he joined the fellowship program in cardiac anesthesiology following medical school at the University of Louisville and residency at Wilford Hall United States Air Force Medical Center (USAF). While training under Jerry Reves, MD, and James Blumenthal, PhD, during his fellowship at Duke, Dr. Newman developed an interest in neurological outcomes research.
Dr. Newman turned his passion for research into a lifelong mission to improve perioperative patient outcomes. This research has shaped his career and strongly impacted his success. Considered a pioneer in the field of perioperative neurological research, Dr. Newman has largely defined the now widely accepted demographic, procedural, and genetic risk factors for neurocognitive dysfunction after surgery. Most importantly, he has been the prime force behind several, including the first, interventional trials attempting to reduce the incidence of this devastating post-surgical outcome.
In 2001, Dr. Newman developed the Multicenter Perioperative Outcomes Research Group of the Duke Clinical Research Institute to study strategies that would improve outcomes of patients undergoing surgery and anesthesia. Several grants from organizations, such as the National Institute on Aging; the American Heart Association; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation; and the International Anesthesia Research Society, facilitated his research on the impact of perioperative outcomes (neurocognitive decline, stroke, myocardial infarction, and renal injury) on quality of life following cardiac surgery. Consequently, his research has resulted in numerous seminal publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Lancet.
Advancing the Department
During his chairmanship, Dr. Newman worked diligently to further the department’s educational program, develop faculty, and improve department-wide, clinical operations as a whole. Within the residency program, Dr. Newman constructed two continuums designed to integrate advanced clinical and research training without prolonging the duration of the traditional residency and fellowship. This resulted in the development of the Academic Career Enrichment Scholars (ACES) program, alongside the traditional residency program, that allows trainees to get the skills and experience necessary for successful careers in academic anesthesiology.
Dr. Newman also focused on the career development of faculty members over the past 20 years. He has personally mentored over 30 Duke fellows in cardiothoracic anesthesiology. Many of his protégés have gone on to become successful leaders of academic medicine in their own right. More recently, he has implemented a mentorship program within the anesthesiology department that is designed to support and develop faculty members from the time they enter the department.
To further improve patient care, Dr. Newman expanded the perioperative outcomes database beyond cardiac surgery to assess patients undergoing all types of surgery. He increased operating room throughput and efficiency, and redesigned the departmental compensation plan. Finally, to ensure that the department would continue to attract the brightest faculty, Dr. Newman successfully created five endowed professorships through philanthropy and sound financial management.
Over the last 20 years at Duke, Dr. Newman has received numerous awards, including the Bernard H. Eliasberg Medal for significant contributions to the field of anesthesia, critical care, and pain management; the Golden Stump Award for key contributions to the field of perioperative neuroprotection; and the 2012 Duke Distinguished Faculty Award. Dr. Newman is the senior editor of the textbook Perioperative Medicine: Managing for Outcome and a co-editor of Anesthesiology, a principal textbook of anesthesiology used globally for teaching and reference. He has also written book chapters, editorials, and over 200 manuscripts.
With Dr. Newman taking on his new role at the PDC, the Department of Anesthesiology is under the leadership of the interim chair, Dr. Joseph Mathew, the Jerry Reves, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology. Dr. Mathew came to Duke University in 1998. He has since served the department as the director of perioperative echocardiography; director of the Neurological Outcomes Research Group; director of the Clinical Anesthesia Research Endeavors (CARE) Group; chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology; and, most recently, as the Executive Vice-Chair of Performance and Operations.
“Joseph will work to create an even better reality from our strong departmental vision. He has shown strong leadership and commitment to all of our missions,” says Dr. Newman.
Article by Tiffany A. Nickel | Photos by Dr. Mark Newman & Elizabeth Perez