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Dr. Lydia Conlay is a physician, an anesthesiologist, and educator who currently holds the title of the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Also active in professional medical organizations, Dr. Conlay is president-elect of the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, and treasurer of the Society of Ambulatory Anesthesiologists.
Lydia Conlay is a medical professional with major interests in education. She is honored to serve as the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. As a member of the Department of Anesthesiology, Dr. Conlay teaches students to become consultant physicians in anesthesiology. This involves helping students learn how to assess, consult and prepare patients for anesthesia, how to diagnose disorders, particularly the types of acute life-threatening conditions that occur in patients undergoing a surgical procedure, , and how to manage increasingly complicated medical conditions during a time when patients are exposed to the substantial stresses of surgery. In addition to learning how to care for complicated patients undergoing increasingly complex operations, Lydia Conlay also strives to help her students understand how to develop new medical knowledge through the conduct of medical research at both the clinical and scientific levels, as well as aiding their development as professionals and physicians.
Lydia Conlay has continued her own education through a program of continuous progression as she has made her foray into the medical field. She went back to school to obtain formal education several times throughout her career, even as she worked as a fellow or held faculty positions at various academic institutions. Today, Dr. Conlay is dedicated to helping young physicians similarly better themselves through enhancing their own academic and professional development. As a professor of anesthesiology she shares the insight she’s gained over a comprehensive and productive career, in the hopes that those who follow her will do the same.
In addition to her work with students, Lydia Conlay is also active in a number of professional organizations in medicine, and in particular, anesthesiology. She is president-elect of the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, and has twice led a group of physicians to the Missouri State House to teach legislators and their staffs how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). As an “ambulatory anesthesiologist” (an anesthesiologist who specializes in providing anesthesia to patients who will go home the same day as their surgery), Dr. Conlay is also treasurer of the Society of Ambulatory Anesthesia. An avid student of history, Lydia Conlay also chairs two committees for the Wood Library Museum of Anesthesiology, the premier organization of its kind in the world today.
Lydia Conlay currently holds licenses and certifications from several different states and institutions, including the state of Louisiana, the state of Missouri, and the state of Colorado, and is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology.
The road to success for Lydia Conlay began in a small town of approximately 1,000 in northern Louisiana. After graduating in from the Northwestern State University of Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, Dr. Conlay continued to Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport, LA, for her medical degree. Following graduation, Lydia Conlay completed an internship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She then moved to Boston, for a residency in anesthesia at the world-renowned Massachusetts General Hospital. Following her residency, she entered graduate school at MIT while serving as a clinical and research fellow in neuroanesthesia at the hospital. In addition to her MD, during this period Dr. Conlay earned her PhD in Neural and Endocrine Regulation from MIT.
After earning her undergraduate degree, a medical degree, and a doctorate, Lydia Conlay began a long and distinguished career in academic medicine. During her time as an academic physician, she taught students, cared for patients and conducted both scientific and clinical research. Throughout her extensive career she earned a number of prestigious appointments. While studying for and earning her PhD, she served as an Instructor in Anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School. After earning her degree, Lydia Conlay was concurrently a visiting lecturer at the Department of Applied Biological Sciences (later the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences), at her alma mater, MIT. She was promoted to assistant and then associate professor in anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, and served as the Director of Ambulatory Anesthesia and Recovery Services at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She also served as a visiting lecturer at the Department of Brain and Cognitive Services at MIT during this period.
In 1995, while working full-time, Lydia Conlay went back to school, earning a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) from the Boston University School of Management. Earning her MBA in addition to her MD allowed Conlay to expand her knowledge of the business of healthcare, and has helped her bridge the gap between medicine and business during her career.
The next stages in Dr. Lydia Conlay’s career involved promotions to professor and the assumption of leadership roles in academic departments. She was Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and subsequently, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Baylor College of Medicine. After a decade of leading departments, Lydia Conlay remained as professor at Baylor, and subsequently as the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, the position she currently holds.
Additionally, Lydia Conlay has held a number of different memberships in a variety of professional organizations including the American Society of Anesthesiologists, where she served on the Board of Directors as the alternate director for academic anesthesia, the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, where she is currently president-elect, and the Society for Ambulatory Anesthesiologists, where she served as treasurer and then president, and currently as treasurer again.
Dr. Lydia Conlay has been elected to prestigious professional organizations as well, and has often served in leadership positions. She was elected to membership in the Association of University Anesthesiologists where she served two terms as treasurer, and to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the nation’s first medical organization, where she was appointed as trustee. As a department chair she became a member of the Society for Academic Anesthesia Chairs, and later served this organization as its president.
Throughout her career, Lydia Conlay has earned a number of different prestigious grants and awards. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, and by several pharmaceutical companies including Glaxo Smith Kline and Marion Merrell Dow.
In addition to graduating with high honors from several of her programs, Lydia Conlay was accepted as member of the Educational Scholars Fellowship Program of the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas School of Medicine in Houston. Following the completion of this program, she was recognized within the Baylor College of Medicine with several institution-wide Fullbright and Jaworski Awards for Excellence in Education. In 2009, she also received the International Anesthesia Research Association’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, which is the highest educational award within the specialty of anesthesiology. Dr. Lydia Conlay was named one of America’s Top Anesthesiologists in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Lydia Conlay also knows the importance of philanthropy, and has volunteered with several charitable organizations and activities. She served as a trustee of the Center for Brain Science and Metabolism Charitable Trust in Boston, she chaired the MBA Class Gift Committee which established and endowed the John R. Russell Teaching Award in excellence in teaching in the Boston University School of Business, and from 1996 to 1998, Lydia Conlay chaired the Ether Monument Restoration Group, a group committed to the restoration and maintenance of the Ether Monument, the oldest structure in Boston’s Public Garden. For these and other endeavors, she became an invited author in the series of Careers in Anesthesiology.
Dr. Lydia Conlay has previously held licenses and certifications from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the state of Texas, and the American Board of Medical Management.
In some ways, Dr. Lydia Conlay’s academic career has come full circle. She is dedicated to providing the very best quality of care to her patients, the highest level of service to the institutions she serves, and to mentoring and inspiring her students to develop into the very best physicians that they can be. Although balancing a job as a physician and a professor can be challenging, it also provides many rewards for Lydia Conlay, and she plans to continue dedicating herself to this path in the future.
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