Article Published in the Journal of Surgical Education

The article titled “Multidisciplinary Difficult Airway Course: An Essential Educational Component of a Hospital-Wide Difficult Airway Response Program” was authored by our own Lauren Berkow, MD, with associates from Johns Hopkins and the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Read the abstract below or click here to view the full article.

A hospital-wide difficult airway response team was developed in 2008 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital with three central pillars: operations, safety monitoring, and education. The objective of this study was to assess the outcomes of the educational pillar of the difficult airway response team program, known as the multidisciplinary difficult airway course (MDAC).


The comprehensive, full-day MDAC involves trainees and staff from all provider groups who participate in airway management. The MDAC occurs within the Johns Hopkins Medicine Simulation Center approximately four times per year and uses a combination of didactic lectures, hands-on sessions, and high-fidelity simulation training. Participation in MDAC is the main intervention being investigated in this study. Data were collected prospectively using course evaluation survey with quantitative and qualitative components, and prepost course knowledge assessment multiple choice questions (MCQ). Outcomes include course evaluation scores and themes derived from qualitative assessments, and prepost course knowledge assessment MCQ scores.


Tertiary care academic hospital center.


Students, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians from the departments of Surgery, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine, and Emergency Medicine; advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), nurse anesthetists, nurses, and respiratory therapists.


Totally, 23 MDACs have been conducted, including 499 participants. Course evaluations were uniformly positive with mean score of 86.9 of 95 points. Qualitative responses suggest major value from high-fidelity simulation, the hands-on skill stations, and teamwork practice. MCQ scores demonstrated significant improvement: median (interquartile range) pre: 69% (60%-81%) vs post: 81% (72%-89%), p < 0.001.


Implementation of a MDAC successfully disseminated principles and protocols to all airway providers. Demonstrable improvement in prepost course knowledge assessment and overwhelmingly positive course evaluations (quantitative and qualitative) suggest a critical and ongoing role for the MDAC course.