Michael Scott, Surgical Recovery Pioneer, Named Chair of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Jul. 1, 2024

Michael James Scott, MB, ChB, a leader in quality improvement whose work has helped enhance recovery after surgery, has been appointed chair of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine.

He will assume the position on October 1, 2024, and will also serve as the Denham S. Ward, MD, PhD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, pending approval of the Office of the Provost and the University of Rochester Board of Trustees. Scott will take over the position from Michael Eaton, MD, who has served as chair of the department since 2011.

Scott’s work in quality improvement has led to worldwide acceptance of a new standard of care for surgical patients, called Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS), which focuses on preoperative counselling and screening, optimization of nutrition, standardized analgesic and anesthetic regimens, and early mobilization post surgery. He was one of the early inventors and champions of ERAS in the UK and first published work connecting rapid recovery after surgery with improved outcomes, as well as reduced complications and costs. He is immediate past president of ERAS USA.

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He has championed the reduction of opioid use in surgery, advised the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and authored the international perioperative consensus guidelines on prevention of opioid harm. Scott currently holds the position of professor and division chief of Critical Care Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology and senior fellow with the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Dr. Scott is a recognized leader with extensive background in perioperative surgical outcomes and quality improvement and has worked in four countries all with different health systems,” said David C. Linehan, MD, CEO of URMC and dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. “His efforts have improved outcomes and quality of life for patients who undergo major surgery, and the strong track record in leadership, operations, and research he brings to URMC will further strengthen a department critical to many of our clinical operations, including our standing as a level 1 trauma center.”

“The collegiality of URMC is well known and I am looking forward to joining the team. It is a lean, high-quality health system and the excellent vision of the new leadership, including Dr. Linehan, is key to remaining competitive in the current changing health care landscape and one of the reasons I was keen to take up the role,” said Scott. “The combination of being able to deliver such high-quality clinical practice in an outstanding academic and educational environment is hard to match.”

The URMC Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine is comprised of more than 200 faculty members, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners who provide services in 70 operating rooms, four ICUs, delivery rooms, and procedure rooms at Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, FF Thompson Hospital, UR Medicine ambulatory surgery centers, the Pain Treatment Center, and other UR Medicine affiliates.

Organized into 15 clinical divisions, the periprocedural care, pain medicine, and critical care provided by the department are integral to UR Medicine’s multispecialty, tertiary, and quaternary care, which is recognized throughout the region for clinical excellence. The department’s Center for Perioperative Medicine (CPM) manages preoperative comorbidities to improve outcomes for patients who undergo surgical procedures with anesthesia, including the coordination of care over time for complex patients.

The department is part of the Analgesic, Anesthetic, and Addiction Clinical Trial Translations, Innovations, Opportunities, and Networks (ACTTION), a public-private partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration that helps set the international agenda for pain research. Areas of research excellence within the department include mitochondrial disease, neurodegenerative disease, ischemia-reperfusion, the treatment and prevention of chronic pain, coagulation, quality measurement, and the impact of report cards on quality of care, and respiratory physiology.

“The Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine already has outstanding research, which I would like to continue to grow, particularly in the areas of basic science and perioperative surgical and cancer outcomes,” said Scott. “There is also huge opportunity in technology adoption and AI to individualize care for patients to reduce complications. The residency and fellowship programs are known across the country for their excellence, and I hope we can expand recruitment further.”

Scott received his medical degrees from the University of Birmingham in the UK, and completed his postgraduate training in internal medicine, anesthesiology, and critical care in Australia and the UK. He completed a pediatric fellowship in anesthesia at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London. Scott has served as a member of the faculty at the University of Surrey, University College London, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Pennsylvania, and spent several years as a national clinical advisor in the UK National Health Service.

His research focus is on surgical outcomes research, and he has led studies in analgesia, hemodynamic monitoring, fluid therapy, and the stress response for surgery. His current focus is on the long-term effects of acute kidney injury. Scott is the co-author of more than 160 publications and book chapters on basic science, clinical outcomes, and quality improvement. He also notes that at age 16, he won UK Kodak National Young Photographer of the Year. “It must have been my destiny to come to Rochester,” said Scott.