August 9, 2023

Ed Sherwood to receive 2023 FAER Mentoring Excellence in Research Award

Vanderbilt’s Ed Sherwood, MD, PhD, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Foundation of Anesthesiology Mentoring Excellence in Research Award.

Ed Sherwood, MD, PhD

Ed Sherwood, MD, PhD, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Foundation of Anesthesiology (FAER) Mentoring Excellence in Research Award. The FAER Academy of Research Mentors in Anesthesiology (ARMA) presents one award annually to an outstanding mentor who epitomizes successful development of mentees who go on to become physician scientists, ultimately shaping the future of the specialty.

FAER is a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to developing the next generation of physician-investigators. Over 37 years they have awarded almost $60 million in research grants and programs that help provide up-and-coming researchers with tools to succeed as independent investigators.

Sherwood has been in Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Anesthesiology since 2012 and says mentorship has been important to him throughout his career. During his postdoctoral fellowship, more than 35 years ago, he got his first real mentoring opportunities.

“Mentorship is one of our most important responsibilities as scientists and physicians, especially as we progress through our career to become senior members of the faculty,” Sherwood said. “It is gratifying to see mentees succeed and become impactful mentors in their own right. I’m grateful to receive this recognition.”

Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI, professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at VUMC and vice chair of Faculty Affairs, nominated Sherwood for the recognition.

“Over several decades, Dr. Sherwood has proven himself as an extremely successful research mentor. He has mentored young investigators at all levels of training and has contributed to the career advancement of numerous researchers in the fields of sepsis, inflammation, immunity and trauma, in addition to advancing the research objectives of physician-scientists in other research fields related to anesthesiology,” Pandharipande said.

Prior to coming to Vanderbilt, Sherwood was in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. While there, he was a postdoctoral mentor for Julia Bohannon, PhD, now associate professor of Anesthesiology at VUMC. Bohannon said she selected Sherwood as her postdoctoral mentor due to his warm and welcoming nature.

“He was genuinely interested in my goals and interests and was supportive in guiding me in developing my own research questions from the start,” Bohannon said.

She added that Sherwood has been a role model for her when it comes to balancing life responsibilities and working in a lab.

“He taught me how to manage my time, multitask, and be the most effective I could be with the time that I had,” she said. “He never made me feel pressured or overwhelmed and continued to diligently and patiently work with me to complete my objectives.”

The formal definition of a mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor.” Sherwood said this definition hits the basic roles of a mentor, adding that the best mentor-mentee relationships are synergistic and symbiotic.

“The mentor typically has professional and life experience that can be applied to help the mentee grow as a professional and person. Each relationship is different and dependent on the goals and needs of the mentee. The key is to communicate and listen so that the mentor can have the greatest impact on the career and personal development of the mentee,” he said. “Alternatively, I have always gained new knowledge and insight from mentees, which has been an important part of my own growth as a scientist, physician and person.”

Sherwood credits the excellent mentors that he has had throughout his career, all who have shaped his career and life in positive ways.

The award will be presented to Sherwood on Oct. 16 during the Celebration of Research at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in San Francisco.