A Q&A with FSA president Chris Giordano, M.D.

We recently had an opportunity to chat with Chris Giordano, M.D., professor of anesthesiology and director of the Anesthesiology/Critical Care Clerkship. Dr. Giordano is also the current president of the Florida Society of Anesthesiologists (FSA) and was recently named the Phase 2/3 Teacher of the Year for the UF College of Medicine.

Dr. Giordano spoke with us about his time at the helm of the FSA so far, and his thoughts on its importance and place among anesthesiologists in Florida.

Chris Giordano, MD

Q: You’re halfway through your term as FSA president; how has it been going so far?

A: It’s been a busy legislative session, but that’s par for the course because the FSA has a very active political advocacy group. We typically meet once or twice a week during the legislative session to review capitol bills and committee happenings. The recent FMA and FSA annual meetings were educational and productive for our state society, as was the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual meeting as it pertains to our national society. The ASA legislative meeting is coming up in May, and that will be a great opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. and meet with the senators and congresspeople who represent us.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the second half of your term?

A: First and foremost is keeping patients safe and advancing the practice of medicine. It’s a broad statement, but progress is made incrementally with small steps (and hopefully forward ones). Finishing this session with improving healthcare for Floridians is a high priority. The house and senate have multiple bills—both big and small—aimed at accomplishing this; the FSA has a vested interest in some of them and is generally supportive of others. Our goal is to share our appreciations and concerns to legislators in order to finetune those bills during committee work over the next few weeks.

Chris Giordano FSA

Q: What are your thoughts about the society and your place in it?

A: In a representative government, we only have so many touchpoints to promote our ideas, goals, and concerns. As physicians, our specialty society (FSA), local society (Alachua County Medical Association), and state society (Florida Medical Association) provide a representative platform through which we can perform those civic duties by sharing our expertise with legislators. It’s breathtaking how little our state—and national—representatives and senators know about medicine or healthcare-related issues, and it’s our responsibility to provide consultation.

I think if we all recognized our expertise, the opportunity to carve out our future, and the needs of a republic, more people would be politically active. Make no mistake, it’s a sacrifice of time, energy, and effort, and I understand why some might hesitate to make that sacrifice. But if nobody does it, our practice and healthcare will suffer. All of us are—or will be—patients one day, and all of us have family members and loved ones that need health care.

With over 1,900 members, the FSA is an influential society with a broad, active, and collegial membership. This is frequently recognized by legislators and lobbyists each year when we visit Capital Hill. This past January, more than 50 anesthesiologists, residents, and students held 53 different legislator meetings and shared our collective vision for healthcare in Florida. Our own EJ Collins, a resident in the department, spoke directly to the House Healthcare Committee.

Q: Who can get involved in the FSA and how would it benefit them?
A: Everyone should get involved! Showing up is 99% and the rest is on-the-job learning. The intrastate networking, the friends you make along the way, and the perspectives you learn pay dividends for a lifetime. Being FSA president may sound distant or impractical, but it’s eminently possible. The University of Florida has a rich history of FSA presidents, and all of our department chairs have supported and continue to support our effort to continue representing our profession as leaders in the state of Florida.

Q: Is there anything else that people need to know?

A: The University of Florida is the flagship hospital and college of medicine in the state of Florida. Faculty members and residents should appreciate that this prestige carries far and wide, and garners instant respect. Please take advantage of this opportunity and all the hard work that our colleagues and predecessors paved before us.

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