INDIANAPOLIS — A new master’s degree at Indiana University School of Medicine will help address projected needs for qualified anesthesia providers. The new Master of Science in Anesthesia Program is the twelfth of its kind in the country, which trains students to become Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants (CAAs).
Anesthesiologist Assistants are non-physicians with master’s degree-level training who have served as valued members of physician anesthesiologist-directed Anesthesia Care Teams (ACTs) for more than forty years. With the support and encouragement of leaders of the Indiana Society of Anesthesiologists, the state of Indiana licensed the anesthesiologist assistant profession with legislation signed into law in 2014.
“This new program at Indiana University School of Medicine will educate and train highly qualified individuals to become CAAs and join anesthesiology practices as members of ACTs in Indiana and beyond,” said William McNiece, MD, physician anesthesiologist and medical director of the new program.
Highly specialized, CAAs provide physician delegated anesthesia services to patients undergoing surgery and selected other procedures. Similar to physician assistants, CAAs work with physician anesthesiologists as part of ACTs to increase access to anesthesia care while maintaining the high level of patient safety for which anesthesia is recognized.
“We are excited to be a part of such a prestigious medical school and Department of Anesthesia because our students will learn from the experts in the field of anesthesiology,” said Richard Bassi, MMSc, MEd CAA, program director for the Anesthesiologist Assistant Program at IU School of Medicine. “Graduates of our new program will immediately be able to apply their knowledge and skills in a career field with a historical job placement rate of 98 percent.”
The number of CAAs in the US has quadrupled over the past decade, and each year more states welcome them to practice. A major benefit for students of the new program at is in the training they will receive from faculty physician anesthesiologists at IU School of Medicine.
Students in the new Master of Science in Anesthesia program will enter having completed a baccalaureate degree that included prerequisite courses very similar to those required to enter medical school. The intensive, 28-month program provides clinical rotations through a variety of anesthesia subspecialties—including pediatric, trauma, ambulatory, cardiac and obstetric—at facilities and simulation laboratories housed within one of the top academic healthcare centers in the Midwest. CAAs must pass a national certifying exam and recertify every six years.
IU School of Medicine’s Master of Science in Anesthesia Program launched Thursday, Feb. 9, following approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. The first class of a planned dozen students will enroll in August 2017.
For more information on the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at IU School of Medicine, visit their website.