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History of the Department

1958 UF COM Division Chiefs Dr. JS Gravenstein is top left

Dr. J.S. Gravenstein founded the division of Anesthesiology at the University of Florida in 1958. He earned his first medical degree in his native Germany in 1951, then continued his training in the Anesthesiology Department at Massachusetts General Hospital. He decided, however, that his medical training in post-war Germany was inadequate and simultaneously went through Harvard Medical School, graduating with both a second MD and an anesthesiology residency. Most remarkably, he is likely the first medical student ever hired to start a clinical division, as he came directly to UF from Boston. During his time at the University of Florida, his accomplishments were vast but some of his more poignant accolades were his dedication to improvement in patient safety and resident education. Dr. Gravenstein was the co-founder and original member of the Board of Trustees of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) and also led a team of scientists and engineers in the creation of “Stan” the Human Patient Simulator and the Virtual Anesthesia Machine (VAM). These inventions, created and maintained here at UF, remain some of the most widely used medical simulation devices both nationally and internationally.  In 2009, Dr. J.S. Gravenstein died at the age of 83, but up until 4 weeks prior to his passing he was still actively involved in the department, and could be found teaching residents and medical students in the simulator lab.

Video of his career from his 80th birthday party