2021 Annual Conference Speakers 

Dr. Benjamin Brakke

Dr. Brakke is a chief anesthesiology resident at the University of Missouri Kansas City. After graduating, he will complete fellowships in obstetric anesthesiology and critical care at the Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Xueqin Ding, MD, Ph.D

Dr. Ding got her MD and Ph.D in China and completed postdoctoral fellowship training in the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She is a staff Anesthesiologist at University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Case Western University. She has published more than 50 manuscripts and book chapters. Dr. Ding has served on ASA subcommittees and serves as an editorial board member of Frontiers in Medicine - Intensive Care Medicine and Anesthesiology section. 

John Kimbell, MMSc, CAA

John Kimbell is approaching 40 years in his AA career. After starting out in Albany, GA., he has been with Northside Anesthesiology Consultants in Atlanta since 1993.

Dr. Kevin Owen, MD

Dr. Owen completed his Anesthesiology Residency at Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, Ill., completed 2005. He started at South Denver Anesthesiologists 2005 and later joined US Anesthesia Partners Colorado in 2015.

Dr. Richard Prielipp, MD, MBA, FCCM

Dr. Prielipp is Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Executive Section Editor for Patient Safety of the Journal, Anesthesia & Analgesia.

Dr. Kumar Rishi, MD

Dr. Rishi is a Harvard-trained intensivist and cardiothoracic anesthesiologist with a passion for improving medical education, diagnostics, and safety while promoting team-based, patient-centered care.

Dr. Keith J Ruskin, MD

Dr. Ruskin is currently a Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care and Director of Neurosurgical Anesthesia at the University of Chicago.

Robert Culver, MMedSc, MS

Culver is a retired CAA and American Heart Association Instructor for BLS, ACLS, PALS (2009-present).  He was an AHA Regional Faculty member from 2018-2019, and is an American Red Cross Instructor (2020-present). Culver is the CEO of CPRBOB.com.

Dr. Kathleen Leavitt, M.D.

Dr. Leavitt attended medical school at SUNY Upstate Health Sciences Center in Syracuse, NY and completed her residency in Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. She currently serves as the Director of the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesiology, at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

Bhavik Mehta, MSA, CAA

Bhavik Mehta is the chief anesthetist at Atlanta Medical Center. He graduated from Nova Fort Lauderdale in 2015. Bhavik is trained in cardiac and trauma anesthesia.

Dr. Karyn Nunez, MD

After graduating Cum Laude from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Dr. Nunez attended medical school at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in the Class of 2013. She completed residency at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, and then returned to UNM as an Attending Anesthesiologist in 2017. Dr. Nunez engages in multiple QI projects with residents and medical students to "green the OR," reduce waste and minimize carbon emissions associated with volatile anesthetics.  

Dr. Paul Pomerantz

Paul Pomerantz is CEO of the American Society of Anesthesiologists® (ASA®). He received a Master of Business Administration specializing in health administration from Temple University, after which he served in executive roles at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Medical College of Pennsylvania (now Drexel). Pomerantz has held CEO roles at the Drug Information Association, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Society of Interventional Radiology, and Clinical Laboratory Management Association.

Dr. Beverly Philip, M.D., FACA, FASA

Dr. Philip is the founding director of the Day Surgery Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School in Boston. She is president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). She was elected for a one-year term in October 2020. Dr. Philip has served ASA in numerous roles, including president-elect and first vice president, as well as vice president for scientific affairs. Dr. Philip is the immediate past president of IAAS,
and also served as president of SAMBA.

Dr. Johan Suyderhoud, MD

Dr. Suyderhoud has been a practicing academic anesthesiologist for over 30 years, and has been involved clinically in Cardiac Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Visceral Transplant Anesthesia. He trained at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and has held senior leadership positions at Georgetown University School of Medicine and the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, and will be assuming the Vice-Chair for Administration at Wake Forest University's Department of Anesthesiology this summer. He's very keen on Patient Safety, Preoperative Assessment/Enhancement, and stratifying Risk.

Gina Scarboro, D.B.A., MMSc, CAA

Gina Scarboro D. B.A., MMSc, CAA is the Dean of the College of Health Professions at South University. Gina has served in multiple roles in the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession, including a term as President of the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAAA), AAAA Director, Chair for the Association of Anesthesiologist Assistant Program Directors, site visitor for the Accreditation Review Committee for the Anesthesiologist Assistant, and current member of the Physician Assistant Committee for the Georgia Composite Medical Board.

Joy Rusmisell, CAA 

Joy Rusmisell, CAA is a Nova Southeastern University alumni, where she graduated cum laude with a Master of Health Science degree. Joy currently practices at a Level 1 Trauma Center in Macon, GA - Atrium Health Navicent Medical Center. She specializes in delivering anesthetic care on the cardiac team, and functions as Co-Chief and Quality Leader of the anesthetist department. Learning from her time spent in student leadership, Joy continues to champion professional advocacy through service within the Georgia Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants serving as President (2014-2015), Director (2016-2017), Treasurer (2018-current). Within the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants, Joy has served as a Director (2015-2018), and is the current AAAA representative to the ASA Committee on the Anesthesia Care Team (2015-current). In addition, Joy educates student anesthesiologist assistants through clinical preceptorship, and instructs senior students’ as an Adjunct Professor teaching their Board Examination Review Course. Joy Rusmisell seeks to champion education and advocacy within the Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant profession. 

Laura Knoblauch, CAA, MMHSc, MBA-HA

Laura Knoblauch, CAA, MMHSc, MBA-HA, completed her CAA training at the University of Colorado, Anschutz medical campus in 2015, graduating in the first class. Following her CAA training, Laura immediately enrolled at the University of Colorado, Denver, and completed her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on Health Administration. During her MBA training, Laura focused her education on quality in healthcare and got multiple additional certifications in quality from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Laura currently works in private practice in Denver, Colorado. Within her large national group, she sits on her local quality committee. Laura also sits on a local hospital’s Advance Practice Provider (APP) Council, which is part of a national health system. For that national health system, Laura is a trainer for all employees and contracted providers for their mandatory training to become a High Reliability Organization which is a focus on reducing patient harm, through safety first and people always.

Laura has been actively involved in the AA profession since she was a student! Laura is currently the Immediate Past President of the AAAA and the Governance Committee Chair. She is also the Vice President of the Colorado Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants.

Mark Leonard, CAA

Mark Leonard is a CAA currently working for Team Health in Trinity, Florida. He is also an assistant professor at the Nova Southeastern Universities Tampa campus where he teaches a selection of subjects, specializing in ultrasound teaching. Mark is also assistant director for Ultrasound Experts, a company providing regional anesthesia teaching to delegates from around the world.

He came to the US two years ago from the UK where he is a licensed Anaesthesia Associate, making him one of only two providers in the US whom have the licensure to practice in the UK and USA. He came from one of the largest hospitals in the UK where he was the lead for the largest group of midlevel providers as well as establishing and running one of Europe's busiest regional anesthesia block rooms for upper limb surgery there.

Mark has a keen interest in regional anesthesia and co-developed Block GuRU, a regional anesthesia app and range of educational which are marketed around the world, he has spoken and demonstrated regional anesthesia techniques globally.

Bios and Photos to come:

Dr. Jeff Plagenhoef