Dr. Swetha Pakala is a board-certified anesthesiologist at HSS and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical. She is a well-recognized expert in the use of regional anesthesia in international health and limited resource settings. In 2012, Dr. Pakala founded the Global Health Initiative (GHI) to provide sustainable education to anesthesia providers in resource-limited settings around the world, with the aim of improving anesthesia care and decreasing perioperative morbidity. By teaching physicians in resource-limited nations about regional anesthesia and how to educate their colleagues, more patients can benefit from this cost-effective anesthetic approach.
For her work with the GHI, in 2019 Dr. Pakala was the first recipient of the Leon Root, MD Community Service Award. This award recognizes the outstanding leadership of those making significant contributions to the community through initiatives that improve the health and/or healthcare of vulnerable and underserved populations.
Dr. Pakala has been involved in several public health initiatives, short-term surgical missions, and sustainable teaching efforts in countries around the world including Ghana, Vietnam, Uganda, and India. Together with Dr. Mark Brouillette, she has spearheaded the Design, Implementation and Assessment of a Global Regional Anesthesia Curriculum Engagement (GRACE) initiative, which has improved anesthesia care around the world. Her work has the potential to decrease perioperative mortality on a global scale.
Dr. Pakala completed her medical school and residency training at the University of California, San Francisco and received further specialization in regional anesthesia as a fellow at HSS, accepting an attending position at HSS at the end of her fellowship.
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Assistant Attending Anesthesiologist, Hospital for Special Surgery
Clinical Instructor, Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medical College
American Board of Anesthesiology
American Society of Regional Anesthesia
New York Society of Anesthesiologists
Health Volunteers Overseas
Society for Education in Anesthesia
Global Partners in Anesthesia & Surgery
American Board of Anesthesiology, 2012
HSS Attending Anesthesiologists' Award for Clinical Excellence 2012
Health Volunteers Overseas & Society for Education in Anesthesia Traveling Teaching Fellowship Award 2010
MD; University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); San Francisco, California; 2006
Internal Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Cabrini Medical Center; New York, NY; 2007
Anesthesiology; University of California, San Francisco (UCSF); San Francisco, California; 2011
Regional Anesthesia & Acute Pain Management; Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS); New York, NY; 2012
Kavanagh MC, Pakala SR, O’Brien JM. Choriocarcinoma metastasizing to the choroid: a case study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, January, 2006
For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.
Pakala SR. "Principles & Practice of Safe Neuraxial Anesthesia". Kenya Society of Anesthesiologists: "Safe Anesthesia" Conference. Visiting Instructor for African Society of Regional Anesthesiologists. Nairobi, Kenya. August, 2012.
Pakala SR. “Teaching anesthesia in the developing world: context, challenges, and a vision”. Main oral presentation at Society for Education in Anesthesia Spring Meeting, April 2011
Pakala SR, Russel B. "Critical tracheal stenosis: emergent anesthetic induction". Poster presented at Western Anesthesia Residents’ Conference, April 2011
Pakala SR, Rollins MD, Larson MD. "Understanding intraoperative anisocoria". Poster presented at Western Anesthesia Residents’ Conference, April 2010
Global Health in Surgery and Anesthesia
One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Physicians at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.
As part of the disclosure process, this website lists physician collaborations with outside companies. The disclosures are provided by information provided by the physician and other sources and are updated regularly. Further information may be available on individual company websites.
As of November 13, 2019, Dr. Pakala reported no relationships with healthcare industry.
By disclosing the collaborations of HSS physicians with industry on this website, HSS and its physicians make this information available to their patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit physicians to collect royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.