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Who are anaesthesia’s female innovators, pioneers and leaders?

For International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023, we need your help to identify and celebrate anaesthesia’s female innovators, pioneers and champions.

With women constituting 70% of health workers, why the need to celebrate such a big component of the global health sector workforce? The issue comes down to access to positions of leadership and influence, and the decision-making mechanisms that shape services and health outcomes. 

Women continue to suffer from a chronic under-representation in global health leadership – less than a third of ministers of health are female, women make up less than a quarter of health NGO boards, and only 7% of Fortune 500 healthcare CEOs are women.

This gender imbalance is detrimental not only to the effectiveness of the global health system in general, but more specifically to the health workforce and the patients they care for.

Gender-diverse groups collaborate more effectively and exhibit higher collective intelligence, different interpersonal work styles promoting greater social sensitivity, conversational turn-taking, more interaction, and cooperative work. Despite these benefits, women remain underrepresented in research grants winners, authorship, congress faculty, editorial boards, Journal reviewers, Citations, Guidelines panels, Board members, Presidential roles, and Awards. *

Women in Global Health, 2021.

Global health is losing out on women’s talent, perspectives and knowledge. Health systems function better when women, who deliver much of the care, have an equal say in its design and delivery.

Celebrating and increasing the public visibility of female anaesthesiologists in decision-making positions is just one of the simple steps that we can take to challenge this gender imbalance.

By highlighting the achievements and diversity of female anaesthesiologists we hope to inspire other women and normalize female leadership in the eyes of all genders. 

Anaesthesiologists are not a homogenous group and women from some social groups and geographies will have a significant advantage over some other women in terms of education and career advancement, so it is vital that we celebrate female anaesthesia leaders from across the globe.

Help us by telling us about your colleagues so we can share and celebrate their achievements. Email us at and we’ll add them to this list.

Share your female anaesthesia heroes across social media with #WomeninAnaesthesia and we’ll amplify.

Women who lead in anaesthesia

Rupa Bai Furdoonji (India)

World’s first female anaesthetist

Dr Rupa Bai Furdoonji – The first female anaesthetist of the world – Heritage Times

Sereima Bale (Fiji)

WFSA Distinguished Service Award recipient

Amanda Baric (Australia)

Awarded Order of the Polar Star of Mongolia

Connie Cruz (Philippines)

Bertille Kélan Ki (Burkina Faso)

  • Head of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire pédiatrique Charles de Gaulle, Burkina Faso (13 of the 52 anaesthetists working in Burkina Faso are women)
  • SAFE trainer

Laura Pérez (Costa Rica)

The first women elected as President of CLASA (2022-2023)

Phoebe Mainland (Australia)

  • Vice President Academic with the Australasian College of Legal Medicine.
  • Phoebe was 2017/18 President of the Medico-Legal Society of Victoria.
  • In 2015 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship for her project related to patient safety.

Anju Gupta (India)

  • First Indian representative of ESRA
  • National executive member of Indian association of pediatric anesthesia.
  • Editor of South Asian edition of Clinical Anesthesia by Paul Barash and Understanding Anesthesia Equipment by  Jerry A Dorsch

Jeanne D’Arc Uwambazimana (Rwanda)

Started Rwanda’s first anaesthesia training programme

Liz Drum (US)

Nicholas M. Greene Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Contribution, American Society of Anesthesiologists

Daniela Filipescu (Romania)

First female president of the European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care (ESAIC)

Olaitan Soyannwo (Nigeria)

Angela Enright (Canada)

Carolina Haylock Loor (Honduras)

Faye Evans (US)

Nicholas M. Greene, MD, Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Contribution, American Society of Anesthesiologists

Patricia Yazbeck (Lebanon)

Kathleen Ferguson (UK)

First female president of the UK and Ireland Association of Anaesthetists

Elizabeth Justiniano Zarate (Bolivia)

Honoured by her national society SBARD and Bolivian College of Physicians for her commendable work in favour of anaesthesia in Bolivia.

Kate Leslie (Australia)

Patty Livingston (Canada)

Marie-Claire Antakly (Lebanon)

  • Founder – Academic Department of Anesthesia at the St Joseph University School of Medicine in Lebanon (1973)
  • Founder – Lebanese Society of Anesthesiologists, the Lebanese Intensive Care Society and the Lebanese Pain Management Society.
  • Pioneer in the creation of the first Intensive Care Unit lead by Anesthesiologists, the first Pain Clinic and the first Palliative Care Unit in Lebanon
  • First Female President of the Pan Arab Federation of Societies of Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Pain Management 2004-2009.
  • Awarded the Lebanese Medal of Merit and the French National Medal as Officer of the Order of Merit. 

Tihitena Negussie Mammo (Ethiopia)

  • Served on Executive Boards of: Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA), Surgical Society of Ethiopia
  • Chair of the national Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Ethiopia and Coordinator of the CPD centers at Addis Ababa University’s College of Health Sciences, and the EMA.
  • Global Clinical Director, Lifebox

Chris Lundgren (South Africa)

SASA OVS Kok Award 2021, Service to Anaesthesia

Maytinee Lilaonitkul (US)

Jolene Moore (UK)

Chair of the SAFE Steering group

Elizabeth Zulema Tomas Gonzáles (Peru)

The first female anesthesiologist elected as Minister of Health of Peru in 2019

Jannicke Mellin-Olsen (Norway)

  • Knight of First Order of St. Olav
  • Steven Moreau Humanitarian Award, 2021 Humanitarian Awards Patient Safety Movement
  • Past WFSA President
  • First (and until now only female) President of the European Board of Anaesthesiology/UEMS
  • First female Secretary for ESAIC

Frances Chung (Canada)

  • Implemented a universal tool and 14 tools/approaches to improve awareness of respiratory complications, particularly Sleep Apnea
  • Co-founded Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine
  • Granted the Life-time Achievement Award by the Society of Anesthesia in 2019 for her contributions to anesthesia and sleep medicine.

Anneke Meursing (Holland)

First female President of the WFSA

Bisola Onajin-Obembe (Nigeria)

First female President of the G4 Alliance Permanent Council

Bev Orser (Canada)

Toni Brunning (UK)

  • Consultant Anaesthetist, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Course director of ‘Educating Anaesthetists and Promoting Wellness’ and ‘Educating Doctors and Promoting Wellness’

Jean Horton (UK)

Isabeau Walker (UK)

WFSA Distinguished Service Award recipient

Nuala Lucas (UK)

  • Consultant Anaesthetist and Lead for Obstetric Anaesthesia, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, MBE
  • Recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020, for services to Anaesthesia during COVID-19

Suzi Nou (Australia)

  • First Cambodian-Australian Chair of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA)
  • Instructed and led many courses in anaesthesia across Australia, Asia and the Pacific
  • President of the Australian Society of Anaesthetists (ASA)

Maria Isabel Vasquez (Colombia)

  • First woman president of LASRA (Latin America society of Regional Anesthesia), 2018-2020.
  • Regional Anesthesia committee of SCARE (Sociedad Colombiana de Anestesiología) for 8 years.

Fiona Donald (UK)

  • President of the Royal College of Anaestheists
  • Has a longstanding commitment to teaching and training, having been College Tutor, Chair of the Board of the Bristol School of Anaesthesia and an FRCA examiner. 

Karina Rando (Uruguay)

  • Vice Minister of Health, Uruguay
  • Soon to become Minister of Health

Ramani Moonesinghe (UK)

  • Professor of Perioperative Medicine and Consultant Anaesthetist, University College London
  • Director of the National Institute for Academic Anaesthesia (NIAA) Health Services Research Centre. 

Ramai Santhirapala (UK)

  • Consultant Anaesthetist and Perioperative Medicine Lead at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in 2018
  • Honorary Associate Professor at UCL. 

Virginia Apgar (US)

  • The Apgar scale is used to assess newborn babies worldwide.
  • First woman on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Anesthetists
  • 1949, appointed professor of anaesthesiology – the first woman with a teaching position at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • 1961, became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honour of the ASA.

Emilia Guasch (Spain)

  • Awarded with The German Society of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care (BDA) Gold Medal, 2022
  • Award recognizes the work carried out in Europe by Dr. Guasch on patient safety, highlighting the role of Dr. Guasch in the field of obstetric anaesthesia in Europe

Katharine Georgina Lloyd-Williams (UK)

Kate Prior (UK)

  • Consultant anaesthetist in the Royal Navy and at King’s College Hospital in London where she does anaesthesia and major trauma.
  • Her operational military role has taken her to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis and working for the United Nations in South Sudan.
  • As the Training Programme Director for the South East School of Anaesthesia, she is responsible for the training and pastoral care of over 100 civilian and military trainees, including a large number of women.
  • Kate was the recipient of the Medical Women’s Federation Centenary Award for an Established Doctor.

Jennifer M Hunter (UK)

  • First post after graduation was on the professorial surgical unit in Dundee – Jennifer was the only female doctor on the team
  • In1989, she was elected onto the BJA Board, the first woman to do so
  • Became first female editor of BJA 1997-2005, and first female chair 2006-2012
  • First female chair of the Scientific Programme Committee for ESAIC from 2006-10.

Vanessa Beavis (NZ)

  • Clinical head of Auckland City Hospital
  • Past president ANZCA
  • Chair of the Training Accreditation Committee, chair of the Perioperative Medicine Steering Committee, ANZCA Council representative on the FPM Board and founding chair of the Anaesthetists and Leadership Special Interest Group

Leona Wilson (NZ)

  • When ANZCA was founded in 1992, Leona was a Foundation Fellow. She was elected to Council in 2000.
  • In 2008, she was elected ANZCA President, making her the first woman, and first New Zealander, to hold the position.
  • Leona is still working in clinical anaesthesia, and involved with ANZCA as Executive Director of Professional Affairs.

Jennifer Weller (NZ)

  • On Editorial Board for BJA
  • Head of the Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education at the University of Auckland
  • Specialist anaesthetist at Auckland City Hospital. She established the Masters program in Clinical Education.
  • Leads NetworkZ, a national, simulation-based team training intervention for all members of operating room teams, implemented across all New Zealand public hospitals.

Mrs Gladys Amponsah (GHA)

  • Professor of Anaesthesia and a former Vice Dean of the School of Medical Sciences, University of Cape Coast. She also doubled as the Head of Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Management at the School of Medical Sciences.
  • Prof. Mrs. Amponsah has served as an Independent Director at Intravenous Infusions PLC since July 2, 2014.
  • She was formerly at the University of Ghana Medical School as a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department.
  • She was honoured with a Meritorious Award as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Ghana College of Physicians and received a citation from the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences for her enormous contribution during her tenure as Dean.

Vrushali Ponde (IND)

  • Founder trustee: Academy of Regional Anaesthesia India, AORA
  • Founder: secretary general: Academy of regional anaesthesia, India
  • Chairperson Board of studies. Academy of regional anaesthesia India.
  • Ex-President, Academy of Regional Anaesthesia, India.
  • Program Head: WFSA-Children Anaesthesia services, ISA, Paediatric Regional Anesthesia Fellowship, Mumbai.
  • Recipient of Bharat Jyoti award 2020

Sunanda Gupta (IND)

  • Founder President of Association of Obstetric Anaesthesiologists: Started the first and only society of Obstetric anaesthesia in India, which has a membership of 1000 members at present.
  • First woman President “Action Research and Training in Health” an NGO working with women’s health in rural areas.
  • Editor of the first text book on Obstetric anaesthesia in India published in 2005
  • President of All women’s Rotary club, Udaipur 2000-01

Sheila N Myatra (IND)

  • Consultant for Department of Anaesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai for 20 years.
  • Professor of Critical Care at the Homi Bhabha National Institute University.
  • President of the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine (ISCCM).
  • Chairs the Intensive & Critical Care Medicine Committee of WFSA.
  • Immediate Past President and founder member of the All India Difficult Airway Association (AIDAA)
  • Chancellor of the Indian College of Critical Care Medicine.

Jayshree Sood (IND)

  • Chairperson at the Institute of Anesthesiology, Pain & Perioperative Medicine
  • Honorary Secretary for Board of Management and Member of Board of Trustee at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi,
  • Member of the ‘Specialists Board in Anaesthesia of National Board of Examinations
  • Founding member, trustee and president of the Indian College of Anaesthesiologists

Who are we missing?

Let us know who we should be including in this list. Contact us at