Anesthesia Grand Rounds - Wellness

May Pian-Smith, MD, MS
Chief, Division of Quality and Safety
Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital
Wednesday, December 08, 2021 - 7:00am to 8:00am

Anesthesia Grand Rounds on Wellness


Jina Sinskey, MD

Associate Chair for Wellbeing

Guest Speaker:

May Pian Smith, MD, MS

Chief, Division of Quality and Safety

Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine

Massachusetts General Hospital

About May Pian Smith, MD, MS


Dr Pian-Smith is the Chief of the Division of Quality and Safety in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care & Pain Medicine (DACCPM). In this role, she oversees the Quality Assurance Committee and the Quality & Safety Improvement Committee, and the Peer Support program. She is a faculty member of the Partners Center of Expertise in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety, and serves on the Quality & Patient Safety Committee of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).  She is an elected member of the MGPO Board of Trustees and previously served on the Quality of Care Committee of the MGH Board of Trustees. She is the Distinguished Endowed Scholar for Quality and Safety in the DACCPM. 

Dr Pian-Smith is a graduate of the Comprehensive Patient Safety Leadership Fellowship of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF). She completed the Rabkin Fellowship in Medical Education and the Rabkin Advanced Fellowship in Medical Education, both at Harvard Medical School (HMS). During her fellowships, and as the PI of a Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research (FAER) grant, Dr. Pian-Smith developed and implemented innovative curriculum at the Center for Medical Simulation and at MGH to teach clinicians the skills and language of "speaking up". Specifically the lessons foster collaborative questioning and challenging across hierarchical gradients, with the goal of improving patient safety, supporting education, and enhancing the role of all members of care teams. She has published on this topic and lectures nationally and internationally about patient safety, safety culture, innovative process improvement, wellness, peer support, and enlightened inclusive leadership  

She is PI on an Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) grant: “Trust between surgeons and anesthesiologists: Developing and implementing a qualitative method to identify keys to relationship and teamwork success”  She is Co-Investigator of a CRICO grant for simulation-based team-training of OR personnel, and served as Simulation Officer for the DACCPM. She has also led simulation drills internationally, to improve teamwork and patient safety in underserved areas. She is Co-PI for the “OR Black Box” project planned to simultaneously record patient physiologic data and staff language and behavior, in an effort to identify team best practices and areas for improvement.  

An Associate Professor of Anesthesia, she was a founding member of the OB Anesthesia service at MGH. She has been instrumental in establishing clinical practice guidelines, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration, and championing educational and safety programs. Through the years, her clinical research has focused on women's health issues. She has served on the Editorial Boards of, an innovative on-line learning resource for anesthesiology and the British Journal of Anesthesia Education (BJA Education), overseeing OB content in either case. She was the Chair of the Education Committee of the Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP), and was a member of the Board of Directors of SOAP.   

Dr Pian-Smith has received numerous teaching and patient safety awards, including the “2016 Cy Hopkins Patient Safety Leadership Award”, the most distinguished award for Quality and Safety leadership from MGH.  She has also been awarded the "Teacher of the Year" from SOAP and the “Patient Safety Star Award” from MGH. She serves in numerous academic leadership positions. Notably, she was inducted into the Association of University Anesthesiologists (AUA) where she served many years on the Education Advisory Board (EAB). She is an elected member of the Academy of Anesthesiology. She is a charter member of the prestigious FAER Academy of Education Mentors, and has served on the Study Section to review education research grants funded through FAER. She serves on the Board of Directors of APSF, the Anesthesia Foundation, and FAER. 

Dr Pian-Smith received her BA in Biology from Harvard University and an MS in Pharmacology and Physiology from Cornell University. She attended medical school at SUNY Stony Brook and completed her internship in Medicine and Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. After completing her residency in Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, she joined the faculty at MGH in 1994. She has chaired the Joint Committee on the Status of Women (JCSW) at HMS, and has lectured nationally on diversity and unconscious bias. She has served on the Advisory Council for the MGH Office for Women’s Careers. She serves on the HMS Faculty Council, an elected advisory council to the HMS Dean. 

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