Longtime Professor Avner Sidi, MD, retires after 35 years

Avner Sidi, MD

This month, we said farewell to longtime Professor of Anesthesiology Avner Sidi, MD, who retired after 35 years with the department. Dr. Sidi was a prolific author whose work on simulation, transplantation anesthesia, and other basic science concepts positively impacted the next generation of physicians and our field. He will continue his service as an Emeritus Professor.

Dr. Sidi completed his medical degree at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Israel, where he also completed a residency in anesthesiology. He came to UF as a Research Fellow in cardiac anesthesia in 1987 and also completed fellowship training in liver transplant anesthesia at Pittsburgh University.

In 1985, he joined our department as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology. He became an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology in 1990, an Associate Professor in 1992, and he served since 2017 as a Professor. Since 1998, he also held the role of Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Tel-Aviv University, Sheba Medical Center, in Israel, and is a Diplomate of the Israeli Board of Anesthesiologists.

Dr. Sidi was the Codirector of the Liver Transplantation Anesthesia Team at UF from 1991 to 1997, during which time the program operated on more than 100 patients annually. As a teacher, he was extremely dedicated to his students and residents, supervising numerous basic science projects, including many involving organ and liver transplantation. In recent years, his clinical activity focused on anesthesia in non-operating room locations.

Dr. Sidi was an active researcher who received numerous grants for research on topics including cardiac anesthesia and hemodynamics. He was involved as a PI or co-PI on three projects funded by the I. Heermann Anesthesia Foundation.

His main research interest over the past decade was exploring teaching and assessment as it relates to nontechnical skills; his teaching activity included working with residents to improve their performance in simulation environments for the operating room, trauma, and resuscitation. In one recent 5-year period, he conducted 206 sessions for 137 residents. This simulation initiative resulted in multiple publications that are often cited in the field.

Dr. Sidi’s extensive work using simulation for evaluation in education substantially contributed to our department attaining American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) approval for providing Maintenance of Certification of Anesthesiology (MOCA®) recertification simulation courses through the Center for Safety, Simulation & Advanced Learning Technologies (CSSALT).

Mixed Reality Simulator

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) endorsed his work about competency assessment of nontechnical (e.g., cognitive and affective) and technical (e.g., psychomotor) skills through simulation, as these skills cannot be accomplished using only traditional examinations. He was invited by the ABA president to present his experience in simulation as part of its certification examinations in anesthesiology during the ABA Board of Directors meeting in 2012. In 2011, he received first place for Education, Competency & Assessment in Research Abstracts from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

In addition, Dr. Sidi was the PI on a grant from the UF College of Medicine Chapman Education Center for using simulation-based education to evaluate curriculum and improve nontechnical skills in an anesthesiology teaching program. In 2011, he received a grant from the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute to assist with the Integrated Data Repository services.

Dr. Sidi was a prolific author whose contributions to the fields of cardiovascular physiology, myocardial circulation, and metabolism are well known. He contributed to 11 book chapters on anesthesia topics including anesthesia in intensive care, liver transplantation, and cardiovascular physiology. He was an author on more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and presented dozens of abstracts, including one that received an Outstanding Abstract Award from the Society for Technology in Anesthesia in 1996. He gave regional, national, and international presentations and served on the Editorial Board or as a reviewer for several journals.

He also completed two visiting professorships, one in 1991 at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem and one at Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, in Israel.

Dr. Sidi served on a wide range of committees on the institutional, national, and international levels, including on quality control, examination review, and media and information technology. With the American Society of Anesthesiologists, he served on the Abstract Review Subcommittee on Equipment, Monitoring, and Engineering Technology as well as the Committee on Electronic Media and Information Technology in recent years. He was also a member of more than a dozen professional societies.

“Dr. Sidi helped set up the first known use of simulation for high-stakes exams (the approval to practice anesthesiology following residency training) in Israel,” said Sem Lampotang, PhD, FSSH, FAIMBE, the Joachim S. Gravenstein Professor of Anesthesiology and Director of CSSALT. “He also demonstrated the portability of the scenarios he developed, validated, and used in Israel that were then repurposed for use with U.S. anesthesiology residents.”  

Colleagues praised Dr. Sidi for his hard work, commitment to UF, sense of humor, and reliability.

“Thank you for teaching me the difference between being clever and being wise!” said Chris Giordano, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Division Chief of Liver Transplantation, and Director of the Anesthesiology/Critical Care Clerkship.

Thank you, Dr. Sidi, for your many contributions to our department and our field. Best wishes in your retirement!