July 5, 2023

Thomas Long named executive vice chair for Pediatric Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt

Following a national search, Vanderbilt’s Department of Anesthesiology has named Thomas Long, MD, to the role of executive vice chair for Pediatric Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Thomas Long, MD

by Erin Wides

Following a national search, Vanderbilt’s Department of Anesthesiology has named Thomas Long, MD, to the role of executive vice chair for Pediatric Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, effective Aug. 14.

In this role, Long will lead Pediatric Anesthesiology for the department, most visibly in Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, but also across the entire Vanderbilt Health system. He will be a prominent member of the departmental Executive Committee.

“The reputation of the place speaks for itself. It’s a wonderful department; Monroe Carell is superb and known nationally and internationally,” Long said. “I was very honored to even be considered a candidate, but then when I got the position, I was really so thankful.”

Outside of the department, Long will join the leadership team of Monroe Carell as anesthesiologist-in-chief. He will work with Meg Rush, MD, MMHC, president, Jeffrey Upperman, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatric Surgery and surgeon-in-chief, and John Thomas, MD, chief of staff, to manage operations and strategy for the pediatric perioperative and procedural areas where anesthesia is involved.

Long comes to VUMC from the University of Iowa where he was a clinical professor of Anesthesia, division chief for Pediatric Anesthesia and the anesthesiologist-in-chief for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Long to our Monroe Carell leadership team. Over the past decade, we have seen tremendous growth of our surgical and procedural programs,” Rush said. “Dr. Long’s expertise and leadership experience will not only support our pediatric anesthesia teams across all missions, but also help guide our strategic planning as we continue to expand our services.”

Long said there are several objectives he wants to focus on. First, he plans to strengthen the collaboration with the leadership of Monroe Carell. One of the challenges Long has seen in his almost three-decade long career includes the coordination of care for children that have complex medical issues.

“So that it’s not broken up into individual pieces, but rather there’s more of a team approach to the care of a child,” Long said. “I think the other thing that will be an issue for the next decade is retaining quality faculty in pediatric anesthesia and recruiting the best people; I think that’s going to be a real challenge, including pediatric cardiac anesthesia. The workforce is diminishing for both of those so we’re going to have to present a desirable career for young faculty here, and I think that will be one of the bigger challenges.”

Long said he looks forward to learning about the research opportunities at VUMC and has ideas about how to continue to provide the best care for patients.

“Many of those ideas relate to doing collaborative research with our pediatric surgical and medical specialists, rather than just a pure pediatric anesthesia focus because we share the same patients and potentially can be innovative in terms of new models of taking care of patients that are complicated,” Long said.

He received his medical degree from University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and he brings almost three decades of experience in pediatric anesthesia and leadership skills to Nashville. Long completed his residency at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Pediatrics. He did his fellowship in the Department of Adolescent Medicine.

He went on to complete a second residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston in the Department of Anesthesiology, as well as another fellowship at the University of Toronto in the Department of Pediatric Anesthesia. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The search committee appreciated Long’s mastery of the challenges facing pediatric anesthesiology and academic anesthesiology in general. Committee members believe his prominence as a leader in pediatric anesthesiology will give VUMC a local edge in keeping Vanderbilt in the top echelon of pediatric anesthesia groups.