Abigail Schirmer, M.D., CA-1, who once presented a research poster at the 2016 American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting as a University of Florida undergraduate, returned from this year’s conference as president-elect of the ASA Resident Component.
Schirmer, who was elected unanimously, is the first female president-elect of the Resident Component in over a decade, and the first ever from the University of Florida. She also served as the ASA Medical Student Component (MSC) president-elect and president from 2019-2021.
Schirmer has always considered advocacy, both for her colleagues and for other residents and students across the country, as an integral part of her education. As MSC president during the COVID-19 pandemic, she advocated for medical students as program directors across the country wrestled with the challenges of shifting to fully virtual application and interview processes.
Schirmer was given the opportunity to present a poster at the 2016 ASA Annual Meeting as a University of Florida undergraduate, and she says this experience early in her academic career lit a fire for her involvement in the organization.
“The University of Florida anesthesiology residency program gives you the support and resources to not only accomplish your goals, but sets the stage to allow you to create meaningful change, even on the national stage.”
“I’ve been continuously supported from all angles since my initial involvement with the University of Florida Department of Anesthesiology in 2015,” Schirmer said of her decision to apply for the ASA Resident Component. “I remind myself daily that I wouldn’t be in the position to serve in this role, or even be in medicine, without the mentorship, sponsorship, and support of faculty who have been incredibly influential in my personal and professional development. The University of Florida anesthesiology residency program gives you the support and resources to not only accomplish your goals, but sets the stage to allow you to create meaningful change, even on the national stage.”
As president-elect, and later as president, Schirmer plans on working to enhance opportunities for meaningful involvement for residents at the national level. She hopes to create a space for residents to anonymously share concerns, issues, or feedback not just at the ASA annual meeting, but year-round.
“I hope to increase resident involvement within the ASA committees and improve resident involvement in advocacy at the state and national level,” Schirmer said. “Putting residents in the rooms where decisions are made will not only improve our experiences as trainees, but ultimately advocates for our specialty, our future careers, and, most importantly, the care of our patients.”
This year, Schirmer was also invited to participate in a panel for a live recording of the ASA’s Central Line podcast series. The informative and optimistic discussion focused on anesthesiology through the generations, and Schirmer was on stage to represent the viewpoint of the youngest anesthesiology generation.
Schirmer also praised the educational sessions she attended at the annual meeting, including one showcasing the latest work on a Quantitative Neuromuscular Monitoring course from the University of Florida’s Center for Safety, Simulation & Advanced Learning Technologies (CSSALT) in coordination with the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Technology Education Initiative.