WINNER IN FOCUS

Interview with Hui Yang, MD, PhD

Marie Angele Theard, MD
Chair, Membership Committee

Dr. Theard
Marie Angele Theard, MD

I would like to introduce Hui Yang, MD, PhD who is a member of the core faculty and teaching group in the Neuroanesthesia Division at Cleveland Clinic and a clinical assistant professor in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine (CCLCM) of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Yang has been an active member of SNACC’s education committee since 2016.  Dr. Yang develops and helps peer review neuroanesthesia quizzes and she has been a contributor to the "Cognitive Aides for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Neuroanesthesia Emergencies” published in 2019. I hope you enjoy reading about her career in neuroanesthesia.

Dr. Yang
Hui Yang, MD, PhD

What influenced you to choose a career in neuroanesthesia?

During my residency at Cleveland Clinic, I very much enjoyed working with a group of professional and respectful neurosurgeons who are both knowledgeable and dedicated to patient care. I feel that neuroanesthesia is one of the few subspecialties in anesthesia where the neurosurgeon relies on the anesthesiologist for surgical success and optimal patient outcomes. In this subspecialty it is essential to have a deep understanding of the fundamental pathophysiology, pharmacology, and anatomy in neuroscience and neurosurgical procedures. Daily I am challenged to apply this knowledge to the perioperative management of my patients. As a neuroanesthesiologist, I love the variety of neurosurgical procedures at Cleveland Clinic and feel that I can “do more and help more” as a member of the neurosurgical operating room team.

Where did you receive most of your training in neuroanesthesia?

After completion of my Ph.D. focused on investigating the therapeutic roles of potassium channel openers in hypoxic pulmonary hypertension (animal model) and my MD at Tongji Medical University in China, I came to Cleveland Clinic for residency.  I chose this program for its reputation as a top Anesthesiology training program with notable faculty in so many different subspecialties. Additionally, I was excited to work with a diverse group of faculty and trainees from all over the world. At Cleveland Clinic, I received my training in Neuroanesthesia under the mentorship of Dr. Rafi Avitsian and decided to pursue my career in this exciting subspecialty.

How did you find out about SNACC?

I found out about SNACC from my mentor, Dr. Rafi Avitsian, while I was a resident at Cleveland Clinic. Drs. Rafi Avitsian and Shobana Rajan provided information about SNACC's Education Committee, which I joined in 2016.

Which area of clinical neuroanesthesia interests you the most and why?

The neurosurgical cases I enjoy the most are neurovascular procedures (carotid endarterectomy, extracranial-intracranial bypass, cerebral aneurysm clipping) and transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. I believe that my anesthetic management focused on tight hemodynamic control substantially impacts neurosurgical outcomes in these cases. In addition, I enjoy teaching residents the rationale behind the neuroanesthetic management of patients presenting for these complex neurosurgical procedures.

What has been the highlight of educating residents/fellows in neuroanesthesiology?

I enjoy helping residents apply their understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system to their patient’s presenting symptomatology. Additionally, I appreciate the opportunity to help residents develop a deeper understanding of fundamental pathophysiology and pharmacology in neuroscience and neurosurgery. Hopefully, these learning experiences will help increase interest in this exciting field of anesthesiology. 

What has been the most gratifying aspect of your academic career?

I enjoy being an active member of the SNACC Education Committee, contributing to national/international neuroanesthesia education and making new friends in our professional society.

What advice do you have for women interested in neuroanesthesia? 

To women interested in neuroanesthesia, I encourage you to consider becoming an active member of SNACC where you will have the opportunity to meet new colleagues and develop lasting friendships! Ever since I joined SNACC, I have met so many neuroanesthesiologists and among them many women. Staying connected in between meetings or working together as a group provides you the opportunity to share some of the challenges we face and to support one another. I am grateful for the positive experience as a SNACC member which has really inspired me and motivated me to move forward.

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