History of the PGA
The New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc., launched the first PostGraduate Assembly in Anesthesiology on December 13, 1945 in New York City’s Hotel Pennsylvania.
Originally, the PGA was to be a biennial meeting. Thus, the second PGA was not held until 1947, and the venue was changed to the New Yorker Hotel. However, the New York State Section of the American Society of Anesthesiologists had just organized and the PGA functioned as its annual meeting.
The third PGA was held a year later and innovations in the 1948 program included a panel session on “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Block for the Treatment of Intractable Pain” chaired by Harvard surgeons, Drs. White and Sweet. This panel illustrates the PGA philosophy of utilizing the best experts for panels regardless of specialty. The panel’s prominence within the program also demonstrated the importance of pain management to anesthesiology even in the late 1940s. 1950 marked the fourth PGA, and from then on the meeting would be held yearly.
In 1963 the meeting moved to the, then brand new, New York Hilton Hotel which allowed the opportunity for expansion of the program and increased attendance.
In the 1980’s the meeting continued to grow and new innovations such as miniworkshops were introduced. Focus sessions, problem-based learning discussions and interactive workshops were added in the 1990s to keep the program on the cutting edge of anesthesiology.
In the early 1990’s the general and scientific chair of the meeting began to recruit the best speakers from the international community and thus many more international anesthesiologists started to attend the PGA, which today comprises approximately 30% of the registered participants.
What began in 1945 to assist returning armed forces physicians has evolved to an international meeting of historic proportions.
Attendance has grown over the years from 722 in 1947 to 7,376 as of 2000.