The Evolution and Role of ACUDA

A 1957 editorial entitled "Of University Departments of Anaesthesia" (Canad Anaesth Soc J 1957; 4: 1-2) first expressed concern about the status of academic anesthesia in Canada. At that time the issue was "the lack of financial support for the professional teacher." Later concerns involved teaching anesthesia to medical students, attracting more quality Canadian graduates into anesthesia, and university diploma courses. In 1961, these concerns led to the formation of an Informal group comprising the heads of anesthesia departments. This group met during the Canadian Anaesthetists' Society annual meeting to discuss matters of mutual interest. Variously referred to as the Conference of Heads of University Departments of Anaesthesia, the Committee of Heads of University Departments of Anaesthesia and the Association of Directors of University Departments of Anaesthesia, the group was mainly interested in training and education, and manpower.

Representation on the Society's Education Committee enabled them to maintain a relationship with the Society that served the interests of both groups. The department heads, however, appear to have favoured an arm's length relationship, as indicated by the statement in the Minutes of a meeting on 25 June 1967 that "we should try to dissociate ourselves officially from the CAS."

Because it became apparent that the real responsibility for setting academic standards rested not with the Royal College nor the Canadian Anaesthetists' Society but with the academic departments, the group formalized its activities in 1975. At the suggestion of Dr. Stuart L Vandewater of Queen's University, a retreat for department heads was held in Kingston on 27-28 February.

Formalization enabled the group to express the concerns of academic departments more adequately at the level of the Royal College, the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges and the Canadian Anaesthetists' Society. These concerns included training and education in anesthesia as well as the operation and function of academic research and the development of research. The outcome of the Kingston Retreat was the establishment of the organization now known as ACUDA, the Association of Canadian University Departments of Anesthesia.

ACUDA's Constitution and Bylaws were approved in June 1976. The Objectives reflect the formal nature of the Association:

  • To affiliate in a single organization representatives of all Canadian University Departments of Anesthesia.
  • To develop and promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education by Canadian University Departments of Anesthesia. 
  • To advise on the training of allied health care personnel as it relates to anesthesia.
  • To promote the development of research and scientific progress in anesthesia.
  • To represent academic Departments of Anesthesia and promote their interests within professional or learned societies, advisory boards, councils to government or public service organizations.
  • To promote exemplary patient care and advise responsible bodies on matters concerning the standards of anesthetic practice.
  • To support the interests of the profession through the objectives of the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society.

ACUDA differs from the earlier Conference of Heads of University Departments of Anaesthesia in that it comprises academic departments rather than heads. Furthermore, ACUDA has four standing committees for: Education, Research, Undergrad and Departmental Management. As well, the affairs of ACUDA are overseen by a President, Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer, Immediate Past-Chairman and the Chairmen of the four standing committees.

ACUDA met as a discrete organization for the first time in January 1977, and held its first regular annual meeting on 18 June 1977, in association with the CAS Annual Meeting. The relationship between ACUDA and the Society is also maintained by ACUDA representation on the CAS Board of Directors and by Society representation at ACUDA meetings.

The relationship between ACUDA and the Society is determined by the characteristics of each organization and particularly by their interests and perspectives. The relationship has the hallmarks of a town-gown relationship, which for most of the time is mutually beneficial but at other times generates conflict. Thus ACUDA representation on the Board of the Society gives ACUDA insight into the role and concerns of the Society as a journeyman organization that endeavours to represent all anesthesiologists, while the Board of Directors appreciates more the role and concerns of ACUDA. Conflict arises only when one organization infringes on the other's role and constituency.

Two examples: responsibility for recommending individuals for membership on the Royal College's Specialty committee in Anesthesia has always been that of the Society (the Society's viewpoint); and, in the words of Dr. Emerson A. Moffitt, "the Society has many aims and functions but responsibility for survival and development of academic anesthesia ultimately rests with the 16 university departments" [Canad Anaesth Soc J 1978; 25: 1-3 ("Academic Anaesthesia Organizes")] - ACUDA's viewpoint. Essentially and ideally, however, each organization enlarges the other.

The following individuals, all members of the Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society, have served as Presidents of ACUDA since 1976:

1976 GF Brindle (Sherbrooke)
1977 EA Moffitt (Dalhousie)
1978 FJ Wright (Queen's)
1979 JG Wade (Manitoba)
1980 DV Catton (McMaster)
1981 LC Jenkins (British Columbia)
1982 LC Jenkins (British Columbia)
1983 WB MacDonald (Saskatchewan)
1984 J Sandison (McGill)
1985 AA Scott (Toronto)
1986 CE Hope (Dalhousie)
1987 CE Hope (Dalhousie)
1988 L Perrault (Montréal)
1989 L Perrault (Montréal)
1990 JP Tetrault (Sherbrooke)
1991 JP Tetrault (Sherbrooke)
1992 DB Craig (Manitoba)
1993 DB Craig (Manitoba)
1994 B Finucane (Alberta)
1995 B Finucane (Alberta)
1996 D Duncan (Saskatchewan)

1997 D Duncan (Saskatchewan)
1998 F Carli (McGill)
1999 F Carli (McGill)
2000 R Yip (Saskatchewan)
2001 D Reid (Ottawa)
2002 D Reid (Ottawa)
2003 T Coonan (Dalhousie)
2004 T Coonan (Dalhousie)
2005 J Cain (Queen's)
2006 J Cain (Queen's)
2007 H Yang (Ottawa)
2008 H Yang (Ottawa)
2009 C Campbell (Saskatchewan)
2010 C Campbell (Saskatchewan)
2011 D Cheng (Western)
2012 D Cheng (Western)
2013 D Cheng (Western)
2014 M Murphy (Alberta)
2015 M Murphy (Alberta)
2016 M Murphy (Alberta)

ACUDA History