The Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Virginia was established as a clinical department in 1955. Douglas W. Eastwood was recruited as the first Chair of the department, a position he held until 1971. Dr. Eastwood established the residency program and recruited several key faculty members, among them Harold Carron, who established the Pain Management Center as one of the first multidisciplinary programs for treating pain.
Robert M. Epstein was recruited from Columbia University in 1972 and served as Chair until 1996. During his tenure as chair, the department saw tremendous growth, in numbers and in reputation. Several of the faculty members recruited by Dr. Epstein went on to serve as chairs of other departments, including David E. Longnecker, Edward D. Miller, Carol L. Lake, Robert M. Bedford, and Roger A. Johns. Noteworthy graduates of the residency program from this time included Robert Pearce, Timothy Brennan, Roger Litwiller, and Roger Johns, all of whom have achieved leadership positions in our specialty.
Raymond C. Roy was Chair of the department for two years before returning to Wake Forest to assume the chairmanship of that department, where he had been a faculty member for several years. Roger A. Johns was appointed interim Chair in 1998, leaving in 1999 to become Chair at Johns Hopkins.
Carl Lynch III, who had 18 years of experience in the department as a clinician-researcher, was appointed Chair in 1999. He recruited several clinician investigators including Zhiyi Zuo, Vesna Jevtovic-Todorovic, and Slobodan Todorovic, who were able to obtain significant NIH grant support for research on anesthetic-mediated protection and mechanisms of action. Dr. Jevtovic-Todorovic left to become Chair at the University of Colorado in 2015.
George F. Rich was appointed Chair in 2005 after 16 years of experience in the department, which included appointments as the program director and Vice-Chair. He stepped down as Chair in 2020. Under his leadership, the Department saw expansion of clinical services to roughly 50 anesthetizing locations, faculty growth from 35 to over 60, and 4 NIH funded labs. There has been rapid expansion of both pain management and intensive care medicine. The education program expanded to 16 residents per year with fellowships in pain, critical care and regional anesthesia. The department built an impressive reputation as many outstanding faculty members gained significant national recognition.
Peggy P. McNaull was recruited from the University of North Carolina and began serving as Chair in December, 2020. Dr. McNaull is the John Rowlingson Professor and Chair of the University of Virginia (UVA) Department of Anesthesiology and Professor of Pediatrics. She is committed to embracing the department’s history of excellence to provide anesthesiology services across multiple sites, train the next generation of anesthesiologists, and develop anesthesiology research programs, while exploring new opportunities to innovate and advance the department in response to the ever changing healthcare environment.