May 20, 2022

Eleven faculty promotions announced

The University of Michigan Regents approved 11 Department of Anesthesiology faculty promotions during their May 2022 meeting. Promotions will go into effect on September 1.

The following profiles were compiled from information submitted in promotion nomination packets:

Kevin Boehnke, PhD

Kevin Boehnke
Promoted to research assistant professor

Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., has more than 30 peer-reviewed articles, including in high-impact venues such as JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Pain. His research focuses on appropriate use of cannabis and psychedelics for pain management. He is a sought-after speaker with invitations to speak within and outside the institution, and his work has been covered in prominent news outlets such as National Public Radio, NBC News, and the Today Show. He also reviews for numerous scientific journals and serves on two national committees as a technical panel expert. 

He is currently the PI of a NIH K award looking at the cannabinoid effects on sleep and pain in osteoarthritis of the knee and was instrumental in developing a successful NIH R01 grant award focused on cannabinoid interactions with central and peripheral pain mechanisms in osteoarthritis of the knee. He currently leads the development of a clinical trial to study psilocybin-assisted therapy for chronic pain and is helping to create a translational psychedelics and cannabinoids research program at U-M. 

Thomas Curran MD

Thomas Curran
Promoted to clinical assistant professor

Thomas Curran, M.D., is a board-certified anesthesiologist specializing in critical care anesthesiology with additional board certification in advanced perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. He currently serves as the director of surgical critical care and the physician utilization management advisor for surgical patients at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System. He is a member of the National Program Office workgroup for VA’s Tele Critical Care program and provides clinical care to ICU patients at 35 VA facilities as a provider for VA Tele Critical Care East.

His research interests include prolonged ICU stays after cardiac surgery, low CVP anesthesia for liver surgery, serotonin syndrome after cardiac surgery, and COVID-19. He has one publication, serves as a member of multiple institutional committees, and is currently involved in a study examining changes in care requirements and blood transfusion needs for liver surgery. 

Megan Dorsey MD

Megan Dorsey
Promoted to clinical assistant professor

Megan Dorsey, M.D., is a board-certified anesthesiologist and intensivist practicing at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She serves on three education committees at the University of Michigan — Anesthesiology’s Clinical Competency Committee, Executive Education Committee, and Program Evaluation Committee — and is the coordinator for various rotations through the VA Anesthesia Department. 

She is also involved in the quality improvement initiative, in which she created a database to comply with the VA national directive. She has one recent publication on creating an intensive care unit from a postanesthesia care unit for the COVID-19 surge and has another study underway. 

Timur Dubovoy MD

Timur Dubovoy
Promoted to clinical associate professor 

Timur Dubovoy, M.D., is a fellowship-trained anesthesiologist with specialization in cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia. He has completed two externally funded projects, authoring four peer-reviewed publications, and developing educational CME activities on perioperative neuromuscular blockade management. In addition, he plays an active role as a champion of quality and safety in anesthesiology and hospital-wide quality improvement initiatives. He leads the Medication Safety Taskforce, whose work resulted in 50% reduction in perioperative medication errors over the last three years. At the institutional level, he chairs the Perioperative and Procedural Policy Committee and has authored several institutional policies. 

He has made a significant impact to the field of anesthesiology by studying and improving the perioperative management of neuromuscular blockade (NMB), including describing the safety and economic impacts of sugammadex, a newly introduced reversal agent.  His research focused on understanding potential causes, which led to finding that providers were administering the same dose of reversal agent to patients regardless of the depth of NMB immediately prior to extubation. This important finding influenced the department’s decision to switch to sugammadex. After the first year following transition to sugammadex, the rate of postoperative reintubations in adult patients at Michigan Medicine decreased by more than 50%. He completed two additional multi-center projects aimed at understanding the full impact of introducing sugammadex into clinical practice of anesthesiology and co-authored a study investigating the association between choice of reversal agent, sugammadex vs neostigmine, and postoperative pulmonary complications.

David Healy MD

David Healy
Promoted to clinical professor

David Healy, MBBS, created Michigan Medicine's Division of Head and Neck Anesthesia and initiated the Head and Neck Anesthesiology Fellowship. He developed a series of national and international relationships with other anesthesiologists and surgeons and arranged the first meeting of the Society for Head and Neck Anesthesia (SHANA). He served as the organization’s first president and continues to serve as a board member at large and deputy editor-in-chief of the Journal of Head and Neck Anesthesia.

At the University of Michigan Medical School, he has been appointed assistant dean for continuing medical education and lifelong learning, setting the strategic direction of continuing physician education at Michigan Medicine while maintaining the Medical School’s ability to designate and award continuing education credit. Significant achievements include leading the Medical School’s reaccreditation process and developing the cloud-based CME administration system, MiCME. Since the system’s launch, he has improved the designation of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit for several specialty boards and led the development of a system allowing direct board reporting of MOC credit on behalf of physician learners. He leads the Medical School’s Innovation in CME program which funds three or more commendable initiatives each year. He also chairs the Medical School’s Annual “Mini-Medical School” lecture series, where Medical School faculty present their research or clinical work to a lay audience drawn from the local Ann Arbor region.

Ashlee Holman MD

Ashlee Holman
Promoted to clinical associate professor 

Ashlee Holman, M.D., is double board-certified in anesthesiology and pediatric anesthesiology. Through the initiation of her pediatric spinal anesthesia program, an anesthetic technique which avoids general anesthesia exposure in children less than 2 years of age, she has succeeded in promoting patient recruitment at U-M, an impact that is unique to the field of anesthesiology. Moreover, she has now trained multiple classes of U-M pediatric anesthesia fellows as well as anesthesiologists at outside medical institutions in this practice. To date, more than 600 infants at the University of Michigan have benefited from her spinal anesthesia protocol. She has since grown this program to span several surgical services, including pediatric urology, pediatric surgery, pediatric plastic surgery, and pediatric orthopedic surgery. 

Additionally, as the director of the Pediatric Regional Anesthesia Program, she has exponentially increased the number of peripheral nerve block procedures performed in the pediatric population at U-M. She rounds regularly on and contributes to the Pediatric Acute Pain Service and is a valued member of the Michigan Medicine Pain Management Committee and Pediatric Pain Management Sub-Committee. She has received several institutional awards for her work and has spoken or moderated at multiple national meetings, including the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia and the Society for Pediatric Pain Medicine. At a national level, she is an active member of the Society for Pediatric Pain Medicine and Society for Pediatric Anesthesia Communication Committees. Her collaborative clinical research currently focuses on pediatric spinal anesthesia, its benefits, and using spinal anesthesia to promote opioid-free surgery in infants.

Tamar Lake PhD

Tamar Lake
Promoted to clinical assistant professor

Tamar Lake, M.D., is a board-certified anesthesiologist specializing in cardiothoracic anesthesiology with additional board certification in advanced perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. She currently serves as the chief of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System (VAAAHS). She has three publications, serves as a member on multiple institutional committees, serves on one regional committee, and was the recipient of a Patient Safety Award for Excellence in 2018. She also served as the lead to create a dedicated PACU ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the director of preoperative care at VAAAHS, she created a multidisciplinary Preoperative Optimization Clinic to utilize existing resources to better prepare veterans for surgery. Same-day surgery cancellations reduced from 9% to 5% within the first year for the facility. In addition, preventable medical cancellations for patients who went through the clinic reduced to 0% within the first year while maintaining a lower than predicted observed morbidity and mortality score for surgical patients at the institution. 

UnCheol Lee PhD

UnCheol Lee
Promoted to associate professor with tenure

UnCheol Lee, Ph.D., is considered an expert in the computational neuroscience of consciousness and anesthesia. He has been funded by several NIH R01s as principal investigators. He has regularly been invited to speak at national and international conferences and symposiums. He currently serves as associate director for the Center for Consciousness Science, an affiliated faculty for the Center for the Study of Complex Systems, LSA, an editorial board member, and a reviewer for various interdisciplinary journals in neuroscience, physics, math, and medicine. 

He has made a significant impact in the field of anesthesiology and consciousness studies through his innovative and extensive work identifying the physical and neuroscientific mechanisms of consciousness emergence. His unique interdisciplinary approaches have led to several important discoveries that may open new research areas in near-death states, controlling consciousness and chronic pain. He has also worked closely with anesthesiologists and neurologists to develop a principled method for clinical interventions aimed at promoting the emergence of consciousness in pharmacologically, pathologically, and neurologically induced unconsciousness.

Dinesh Pal, PhD

Dinesh Pal
Promoted to associate professor with tenure

Dinesh Pal, Ph.D., leads a basic science research program to understand the neural regulation of arousal states. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and has faculty affiliations with the Neuroscience Graduate Program, Michigan Neuroscience Institute, Center for Consciousness Science, and Center for Sleep Science. His research work has made significant contributions to the field of consciousness science and anesthesiology and provided critical evidence to demonstrate a causal role for prefrontal cortex in mediating level of consciousness. Ongoing studies in his laboratory aim to understand the prefrontal control of arousal states, mechanistic interactions between clinically used sedative-hypnotics and sleep homeostasis, and mechanistic basis of therapeutic effects associated with psychedelics. His research has been consistently funded through grants from the NIH and industry sponsorship. He serves on the editorial boards of peer-reviewed journals and has been a frequent speaker at international conferences to present his work on sleep, anesthesia, and consciousness. He was recently elected to the Association of University Anesthesiologists and was awarded the new investigator award by the American Physiological Society.

He is actively engaged in mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees, and co-directs a graduate level course on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness. He has also served as a science lead for the Patient-Based Scientific Inquiry course for medical students.

At the institutional level, he serves in a leadership role as the vice chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and the chair of the Animal Care and Use Program Compliance Committee. He is an elected member of the U-M Faculty Senate Assembly and contributes to the DEI mission of the university by his service on the Senate Committee on Anti-Racism and the Senate Committee on Fairness, Equity, and Inclusion.

Jennifer Pierce PhD

Jennifer Pierce
Promoted to research assistant professor

Jennifer Pierce, Ph.D., conducts research on the association between trauma and the experience of pain.  She has over 30 peer-reviewed publications and reviews for multiple prestigious journals. She was awarded a Postdoctoral Translational Scholars Program grant through MICHR as well as an administrative training supplement to an NIH grant.  She is currently the PI of a K01 career development award funded by NIMH focused on evaluating neurobiological, psychological, and social factors that may predict the development of pain following trauma exposure.    

Within the department, she has made an important impact on the educational mission through her creation of a formal training program, the Team Pain Training Seminar, for research assistants and volunteers to address professional development and research skills. 

Lori Riegger, MD

Lori Riegger
Promoted to clinical professor

Lori Riegger, M.D., is the associate chair for pediatric anesthesiology and the Sujit and Uma Pandit Endowed Professor of Pediatric Anesthesiology. She is board certified in both anesthesiology and pediatric anesthesiology. She is recognized for her clinical expertise in the management of pediatric patients with congenital heart disease, particularly in those with single ventricle physiology, and on this topic she has been invited as a visiting professor at several peer institutions and given presentations at national meetings. She is a founding member of the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesia Society’s Quality and Safety Committee and is also a member of its Communications Committee. In addition, she is involved in the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia’s Women Empowerment and Leadership Initiative (WELI), Research Committee, and Quality and Safety Committee. 

In the Department of Anesthesiology, she has been the director of congenital cardiac anesthesiology, program director of the Congenital Cardiac Anesthesiology Fellowship and the service chief of pediatric anesthesiology.