New Public Education Campaign on Anesthesia Launches in Response to High Rates of Illness and Disease in Michigan

American Society of Anesthesiologists and Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists Want to Educate Patients to Keep Them Safe

LANSING, Mich., Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Michigan suffers from some of the highest rates of illness and disease in the country. Medical conditions that are more prevalent in Michigan – including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea and heart disease – greatly increase the risk of complications during anesthesia. Thanks to a new public education campaign launched today by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists (MSA), patients in Michigan are one step closer to putting their mind at ease about surgical procedures and the associated risks of anesthesia. 

Launched with the support of patient and disease groups, as well as healthcare and community organizations, the campaign is designed to educate patients about anesthesia, how to mitigate the risks that accompany anesthesia for many patients, and increase awareness about patient safety during anesthesia. Central to the campaign is raising awareness among all Michiganders about the unbreakable link between the quality of care patients receive and their overall health.

“By working with both patients and their doctors to identify potential medical problems before they arise, anesthesiologists are integral to the lifeline that modern medicine can provide,” said Kenneth Elmassian, D.O., President of the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists. “And when patients are already at risk as a result of certain medical conditions, accurate pre-op diagnoses, intraoperative management, and proper post-op monitoring become even more important to both patient safety and successful treatment.”

For years, anesthesiologists have been combining their four years of medical school, and additional four to five years of advanced training as anesthesiology residents in perioperative medicine with their knowledge of human anatomy and experience in the operating room to develop new and better ways to manage pain, risks and costs for patients undergoing surgery. Working with healthcare and community organizations in Michigan to educate patients on health risks and to promote improving overall health to positively impact patients’ anesthesia is an extension of anesthesiologists’ mission to continually improve patient care.

The new public awareness campaign being launched by anesthesiologists in Michigan won the immediate support and praise of seniors’ groups, patients’ organizations, and medical and healthcare associations – all of which are constantly dealing with the threats posed by the poor health of Michigan residents.

“Given local United Ways’ work to promote healthy living and conditions in our communities across Michigan, the education campaign being led by MSA and ASA fits well with our overall mission,” said Scott Dzurka, President, CEO, Michigan Association of United Ways.  “This provides the United Way with another vehicle to meaningfully engage our members and communities in preventative measures, and we look forward to working with them in the months ahead.”  

“More than half of all persons age 65 or older will undergo at least one surgical procedure in their lifetime, and nearly all of them face a greater risk of medical complications simply because of their age,” said Thair Phillips, the President of RetireSafe. “Increasing awareness among this population will lower those risks, and that’s why we commend the work being done by the ASA and MSA to raise that level of awareness.”

As part of the campaign, the ASA and MSA have developed a number of public education materials for patients and caregivers. A paid media campaign is also underway and includes print and radio ads throughout the state. To learn more about the program, visit