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[August 2, 2010]

Dr. James Cottrell to Receive Prestigious Award from the American Society of Anesthesiologists

James E. Cottrell, MD, distinguished service professor and chair of anesthesiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, has been chosen to receive the 2010 Distinguished Service Award by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). Given in recognition of exemplary service, clinical care, contributions to education, and dedication to advancing the profession, the award will be presented to Dr. Cottrell at the ASA Annual Meeting in October.

The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor bestowed by the ASA, a national organization with historical ties to Downstate. It was founded in 1905 by A. Frederick Erdmann, MD, a hospital anesthetist at Long Island College Hospital (LICH), Downstate’s progenitor institution, and eight of his colleagues. Originally named the Long Island Society of Anesthetists, its membership today numbers more than 40,000 physicians who share the common goal of raising the standards of anesthesiology education and clinical care.

A longtime member of the ASA, Dr. Cottrell is highly respected throughout the organization and served as its president in 2003. As the Society’s immediate past president, Roger A. Moore, MD, puts it, “That Dr. Cottrell has ‘done it all’ is an understatement. As a clinician, he was at the very origins of the development of the subspecialty of neuroanesthesia.”  Noting Dr. Cottrell’s influence on current clinical practice and his involvement with patients, Dr. Moore adds, “The safety of patients facing life-threatening surgical interventions has been enhanced as a result of Dr. Cottrell’s efforts. His educational efforts have also been extraordinary, not only for anesthesia residents but for fellow anesthesiologists, and, of equal importance, for the public.”

A pioneer in the field of neuroanesthesiology, Dr. Cottrell’s research on the effects of succinylcholine on intracranial pressure and the neurotoxic effects of nitrous oxide has greatly influenced anesthesia approaches during neurosurgery.  He has published more than 125 articles in scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Neuroscience, co-authored 24 book chapters, edited 11 major textbooks, and has been editor-in-chief since its inception in 1989 of the only scientific journal on neuroanesthesia, the Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology. His book, Under The Mask: A Guide to Feeling Secure and Comfortable During Anesthesia and Surgery, has helped patients face surgery with greater knowledge and certainty.

Known also for his humanitarian activities, Dr. Cottrell is a founding member and former chair of the AIDS Action Foundation. He has been a board member and vice chair of Doctors of the World and served as health policy advisor to the late Senator Edward Kennedy.


SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks eighth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school.