About the Department

The Department of Anesthesiology provides anesthetic and related clinical services to the Hamilton General Hospital, Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, McMaster University Medical Centre, and West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Departmental activity extends beyond the operating rooms. We provide anesthetic services to other areas of the hospital, including Labour and Delivery, Pediatrics, Interventional Cardiology, Critical Care, Adult and Pediatric Pain Management, Diagnostic Imaging, Community Anesthesia and others

Many of the 60 plus members of the department are subspecialized in cardiac, pediatric and neonatal, obstetrical, and neuro anesthesia. Some are subspecialized in acute and chronic pain, critical care and trauma. Clinical care of patients is the focus of each and every anesthesiologist in the department.

Related to the clinical work, the anesthesiologists demonstrate specific interests in various other aspects of anesthesia practice. Examples include quality initiatives via the Anesthesia Quality Council and Continuous Quality Improvement, educational scholarship and research, Physician Hospital Partnership engagement, and participation on numerous HHS committees. Anesthesiologists work with other physician, nursing, and paramedical groups in multidisciplinary teams and committees.

The Clinical Anesthesia Department works closely with the Academic Anesthesia Department and the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. HHS Anesthesiologists participate in daily clinical teaching of medical students, residents, and fellows. In addition, research is carried out by some department members in collaboration with the Population Health Research Institute and other medical and surgical specialties.

The Anesthesiologists are committed to the delivery of excellence in anesthesia care and they demonstrate the value of anesthesiology to the overall care of many patients both inside and outside of the Operating Room. The department is a key stakeholder in the delivery of clinical services, academic teaching, research, administration, and many other aspects of health care at HHS.

About the Chief - Dr. Susan O'Leary

Dr. Susan O’Leary is the current Chief of Anesthesia at Hamilton Health Sciences. She completed medical school and residency at Memorial University of Newfoundland and attended the University of Western Ontario for her undergraduate degree.

Dr. O’Leary worked in the Department of Anesthesia at Eastern Health in St. John’s Newfoundland from 1996 to 2015. Beyond clinical duties, she was an Associate Professor at the Memorial Medical School where she fulfilled various roles including Anesthesia Program Director and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Anesthesia Examiner.

Nationally, Dr. O’Leary was President of the Canadaian Anesthesiologists’ Society (CAS) from 2014 to 2016 and was involved in the national specialty society for several years prior to that time. She continues to work with the CAS as Past President, and she remains actively involved in several other CAS and national committees.

Outside of clinical care and the daily administration of the HHS Department of Anesthesia, Dr. O’Leary has particular interests in communication, professionalism, continuing professional development and strategic planning.

Chief Assistant

Karen MacDonald, ext 46698

Two-Year Strategic Plan - Update

The Department of Anesthesia is excited to share developments within our two year Strategic Plan.

The four main goals are to:

  • Build cohesive, equitable partnerships that foster respect and trust
  • Implement a successful Acute Pain Service (APS) that improves the quality of care we provide patients
  • Create an environment that enables Work Life Balance
  • Improve Communication and Collaboration

For each goal we’ve outlined measurable objective which enable us to track our progress. Our goal of improving communication and collaboration, for example, led to the implementation of a weekly communication newsletter, allowing us to achieve our objective of improving internal communication within the department. This newsletter is electronically distributed to the department of anesthesia and includes various updates from fellow staff members.

Additionally, we’ve implemented monthly business meetings to update department members on pertinent information in a more face-to-face manner. In the near future we plan to implement a quarterly newsletter containing larger department updates and updates regarding our strategic plan. This would be circulated among the department, as well as posted on the physician website visible to all departments. With plans such as these, we’re improving communication while creating an inclusive and transparent work environment.

This is an example of just one of the steps we’re taking to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our department. While working towards smaller departmental goals, we intend to contribute to achieving the broader goals outlined within the Hamilton Health Sciences strategic plan. Taking these steps we’re ensuring the strategic plan, and subsequently our staff members and patients, always remain in the forefront of our minds.

Organization and Structure

Department Leadership

Dr. Susan O’Leary, Chief

Dr. James Paul, Chair

Dr. Madi Ali, HGH Site Lead

Dr. Edwin Ho, JH Site Lead

Dr. Peter Darby, MUMC Site Lead

Dr. Danielle Charbonneau, WLMH Site Lead

Dr. Melanie Havers, Coordinator,  Pre-op Clinic

Dr. Annemaria De Tina, Head of Service – Obstetrical Anesthesia

Dr. Matthew McFarling, Head of Service – Cardiac Anesthesia

Practice Leads

Dr. Jennifer Nelli, Neuroanesthesia

Dr. Elaheh Adly, Pain Management

Dr. Andre Gagarine, Trauma Anesthesia

Dr. Saeda Nair, Hepatobiliary Anesthesia

Dr. Vandana Vaishnav, Regional Lead

Dr. Adel Bengizi, Vascular Anesthesia