It’s fitting to remember Jane Matjasko, MD, as one of the inaugural members of SNACC and a person who worked tirelessly to champion the specialty of Anesthesiology, particularly Neurosurgical Anesthesiology.
Jane Matjasko, M.D. Tribute by Patricia Petrozza, M.D.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Society for Neuroscience in Anesthesiology and Critical Care Program Planning Committee for this special opportunity to share memories of my teacher, mentor and friend, Jane Matjasko who passed away in January of this year. In preparing this talk, I’d like to recognize several current and early members of SNACC, listed on this slide, who provided their most vivid recollections of Jane to help me capture her spirit and contributions.
Growing up as the eldest of six children in Western Pennsylvania, Jane’s renowned work ethic was established early. She excelled academically, graduating from Mercyhurst College in 1964, and then traveled across the state to enroll at the “Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania,” (now Drexel University School of Medicine). Funds were always tight in those years, and Jane worked as a live-in “Nanny/Childcare provider” for a local Philadelphia family in exchange for room and board during Medical School. Honing her skills in time management, Jane held the highest class rank for all four years of Medical School and received the Beatrice Sterling Hollander Memorial Prize for “leadership, high character and creativeness” upon graduation.
Arriving at the University of Maryland in 1968, originally as a resident in Internal Medicine, Jane was quickly attracted to Anesthesiology. Dr. Martin Helrich, the Chair of the Anesthesiology Department at the time, “needed to check Jane out,” before committing to an offer of a residency position, but once assured that she was “the real deal,” he initiated a wonderful mentorship relationship of several decades duration that held great rewards for both Jane and Marty.
An Anesthesiology residency at the University of Maryland in the early 1970’s was not for the faint of heart. Residents took “in house” call for 72 hour weekend periods and covered both the University Hospital Operating Rooms and the well renowned “Shock Trauma” Center. Despite the workload, Jane became well known to the Medical Staff as a supportive colleague, astute clinician and welcoming and inclusive patient care team leader. During a fellowship year, she completed research in Critical Care with T. Crawford McAslan and became focused on the newly emerging field of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology, because as she once told me, “We needed to do it better.”
This slide, taken from Maurice Albin’s 1997 article in the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology, commemorating the 25th anniversary of SNACC lists the group present at the first organizational meeting for the “Neurosurgical Anesthesia Society” in 1973. Note Drs. Helrich and Matjasko. Jane would eventually become the 10th president of the new organization.
In addition to her service as an officer, she contributed to the Bibliography project for close to 2 decades and edited a book entitled Clinical Controversies in Neuroanesthesia and Neurosurgery during her presidential term, offering some up and coming leaders in the field, such as Adrian Gelb, his first opportunity to produce a book chapter for the Anesthesiology community.
As noted by Dr. Albin, from the start Jane was a “Doer:” whatever it took to get the job done. Bob Bedford, who had a distinguished career at the University of Virginia and served as SNACC’s 12th president, recalls that in the pre-Google, no trip advisor , pre-management company early days, Jane made a special trip to St. Louis to personally select the next SNACC annual meeting site, and assure that it was first class. A typical vignette showing Jane’s passion for assuring that all clinical, educational and social details were always as perfect as possible.
This next slide, showing Jane and her husband, Shao Huang Chiu, having dinner and a nice glass of wine with one of my mentors, Frank James and his wife, Del, serves to illustrate a favorite way that Jane “took care of business,” while enjoying life. Jane was well known for finding the best Chinese food in any town and inviting folks to “come along.” Jim Cottrell recalls sharing dreams of the future of the Neurosurgical Anesthesiology subspecialty, including textbook planning, recognition by the American Society of Anesthesiologists and a specialty journal over many an excellent meal with Jane. As a mentor to me and to many other young anesthesiologists, Jane had a way of combining good meals, conversations about our children, and antique hunting or museum explorations with careful, personal attention followed by astute advice and wisdom.
Jane worked hard to achieve success in academic Anesthesiology, for instance, providing endless hours of volunteer work on American Society of Anesthesiology Committees, speaking to emerging women leaders for the American Association of Medical Colleges, serving as Visiting Professor at multiple institutions with few women faculty, and supporting the Association of University Anesthesiologists. While always aware that she was “one of a few,” or often the only woman in many professional circumstances, she uniquely turned situations to her advantage with her keen observation skills, superb political talents, sense of timing and dry sense of humor. I can recall her hearty laughter at a well turned phrase or quip from an otherwise intimidating colleague.
This last slide lists some of Jane’s “Firsts” and achievements in the field of Anesthesiology. For example Jane was the first woman to serve as the Secretary/Treasurer of the American Board of Anesthesiology, a position of enormous influence in our specialty. As one can see, she leaves an impressive legacy and rightly should be honored for her work to build and grow the field of Anesthesiology. Most especially, those of us who were privileged to work closely with her and appreciate her talents and generous nature intimately, will remember Jane Matjasko as a uniquely gifted, and very hard working, beloved teacher, friend and colleague who made us all a little better for the privilege of knowing her.
A History of SNACC as published by Dr. Maurice Albin
Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology, Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 296-307 © 1997 Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia
The Genesis of a Neuroanesthesiology Society
NAS –+ SNANSC –+ SNACC
Maurice S. Albin, M.D., M.Sc (Anes.)
Professor of Anesthesiology and Neurosurgery, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Texas Health Center, San Antonio, Texas
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Maurice S. Albin at the University of Texas Health Center, Department of Anesthesiology, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio. TX, 78284, U.S.A.
The decade of the sixties was seminal for the development of neuroanesthesiology as a definitive subspecialty. During those years, standardization of techniques for measurement of CBF, CMRO2, ICP and neurochemical moieties were introduced. The physiologic basis of cerebrovascular dynamics was being established and instrumentation design was spurred by developments in electronics and engineering. Of equal importance, research groups of anesthesiologists and neurosurgeons were coalescing in Europe and North America to examine the effects of anesthetics on cerebral blood flow and metabolism, on cerebrovascular responses of the traumatized brain, and the dynamics of intracranial hypertension-to name but a three areas of investigation. This multidisciplinary approach was spurred as neurosurgeons and anesthesiologists came to realize that they had common ground in their need to clarify essential pathophysiologic problems relating to patient care. Along with those advances, new findings in neurochemistry and the beginning of important developments in the (then) new subspecialty of neuroradiology increased the background of intellectual ferment that heralded great strides in the decade of the seventies.
This is not to say that significant advances or discoveries had not been made prior to the sixties. We are forever indebted to the works of Amussat, Sherrington, Bernard, Horsley, Macewen, Halsted, Cushing, Kety, and Schmidt, among many others. A fine review of the background to the history of neuroanesthesiology can be found in a recent work by Frost (1).
The academic purview of neuroanesthesiology was promoted in 1964 by publication of the first neuroanesthesiology textbook written in English by Professor Andrew R. Hunter from Manchester (Fig. 1) (2). This was followed in 1966 by the first Canadian book in neuroanesthesiology edited by R.G.B. Gilbert (then Chair of the Department of Anaesthetics at McGill University and Director of Anaesthesia at the Montreal Neurological Institute) together with Fred Brindle and Anibal Galindo (3). During this time period (1965), Dr. Allan Brown of Edinburgh and Professor Hunter founded the Neuroanesthesia Traveling Club of Great Britain and Ireland, an organization dedicated to furthering the development of the neuroanesthesiology as a recognized subspecialty. Also of interest was the formation in 1961 of a North American working group called the Commission on Neuroanesthesia, sponsored by the World Federation of Neurology, and initially composed of Howard Terry (Mayo Clinic), Jack Michenfelder (Mayo Clinic), Maurice Albin (Case-Western Reserve), and chaired by R.G.B. Gilbert (McGill). A rapid development of knowledge relating to neuroanesthesiology from centers in Philadelphia, Glasgow, Rochester, Richmond, San Francisco, London, New York, Cleveland, and Montreal was soon to follow.
FIG. 1. Professor Andrew R. Hunter, pioneering neuroanesthesiologist, author of the first book on neuroanesthesia in English (1964), and cofounder of the Neuroanesthesia Traveling Club of Great Britain and Ireland in 1965.
FIG.2. Maurice S. Albin, M.D., M.Sc. (Anes), one of the original organizers (1972) and founders (1973) of NAS and its 2nd President.
FIG.3. Thomas W. Langfitt, M.D. The neurosurgical “Guru” of North American Neuroanesthesia-both founder and organizer of NAS in 1972 and 1973.
FIG.4. James Harp, M.D., one of the original organizers (1972) and founder of NAS (1973).
FIG. 7. Harvey Shapiro, M.D., one of the original founders of SNA, first Secretary and 4th President of SNANSC.
FIG. 8. (click on thumbnail for larger image) Specimen letter concerning the preliminary organizational meeting of the Neurosurgical Anesthesia Society. This letter was sent out to anesthesiologists and neurosurgeons thought to he interested in the organization.
FIG. 10. Harry Wollman, M.D., one of the founding members of NAS and a host of the 1973 organizational meeting in Philadelphia.
MEMBERS OF THE ‘NEUROSURGICAL ANESTHESIA SOCIETY’
(Jun. 15, 1973)
M. Albin, MD
S. C. Alexander, MD
D. P. Becker, MD
R. Bergland, K.D.
V.L. Brechner, MD
Los Angels, CA
G.F. Brindle, M.W.
E.A. Brunner, MD
R.C. Carroll, MD
J.G. Frazer, MD
A. Galindo, MD
R.G.B. Gilbert, MD
T.S. Gilbert, MD
A.J. Gissen, MD
G.A, Gronert, MD
J. Harp, MD
M. Helrich, MD
E.M. Kenwell, MD
L.K. Kitathata, MD, PhD
New Haven, CT
H.J. Khambatta, MD
New York, NY
V.E. Lamb, K.D.
T.W. Langfitt, MD
C.P. Larson, Jr., MD
San Francisco, CA
J.D. Levitt, MD
Brian Marshall, MD
K.J. Matjasko, MD
J.H. Messick, Jr. MD
J.D. Michenfelder, MD
L.R. Orkin, MD
New York, NY
A. Schettini, MD
M.H. Shapiro, MD
H.C. Slocum, MD
A.L. Smith, MD
San Francisco, CA
R. Smith, MD
San Diego, CA
M. Sokol, MD
Iowa City, IA
J. Tinker, MD
Ft. Campbell, KY
D. Trop, MD
J.W. Wads, MD
R.J. White, MD
H. Wollman, MD
A. Yeakel, MD
FIG. 11. (click on thumbnail for larger image) Charter members of the Neurosurgical Anesthesia Society at its meeting on June 15, 1973. Four neurosurgeons were present including Becker, Bergland, Langfitt, and White
FIG. 14. (click on thumbnail for larger image) Specimen of letter sent to all neurosurgical and anesthesia programs in the United States and Canada announcing its meeting in San Francisco on October 7, 1973.
FIG. 16. John Mitchenfelder, M.D., 1st President and a founder (1973) of NAS.
FIG. 27. James Cottrell, M.D., Founding Editor of Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology in 1989 and 8th President of SNANSC.
FIG. 28. John Hartung, Ph.D., Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology since its inception.
FIG. 31. M. Jane Matjasko, M.D., founding member of the NAS and the 10th President.
FIG. 32. Elizabeth A.M. Frost, M.D., early contributor to SNANSC
FIG. 33. Phillipa Newfield, M.D., 14th President of SNANSC.
FIG. 34. Elizabeth Grundy, M.D., early contributor to SNANSC.
1. Frost EAM. History of neuroanesthesia. In: Albin, MS ed. Textbook of Neuroanesthesia with Neurosurgical and Neuroscience Perspectives. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997:1-20.
2. Hunter AF. Neurosurgical Anesthesia. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Co., 1964.
3. Gilbert RGB, Brindle GF, Galindo A. Anesthesia for Neurosurgery. London: J & A Churchill Co, 1966.
4. Cottrell JE, Turndorf H. Anesthesia and Neurosurgery. St. Louis: Mosby-Yearbook Inc, 1980.
5. Cottrell JE, Smith DS. Anesthesia and Neurosurgery. St. Louis: Mosby Yearbook, Inc, 1994.