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Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Anesthesiologist to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award - 09/18/2014

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center Anesthesiologist to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Release Date: September 18, 2014
Myron Yaster
Myron Yaster, M.D.
Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center pediatrician Myron Yaster, M.D., has been chosen to receive the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia. Yaster is being honored for his trailblazing work in the field of pediatric anesthesia and pain management.

The award, which will bear Yaster’s name, will be given out annually to acknowledge significant contributions to advancing the safety and quality of anesthetic care, perioperative management and pain management in children. Yaster is one of the society’s founding members and its first president. 

Yaster has pioneered various methods of pain management in infants, children and adolescents involving new drugs and techniques. His laboratory and clinical research has illuminated much of modern-day understanding of neonatal pain. Yaster has launched initiatives to reduce dangerous opioid prescription errors and to improve the safety and efficacy of pain management in children. More recently, he developed a protocol to counteract the side effects of common opioids by using ultra low doses of naloxone, a well-known antidote for narcotic overdose. Given in very small amounts, the drug counteracts opioidal side effects without canceling out their main action — eliminating pain.

In 1989, Yaster founded the Pediatric Pain Management Service at Johns Hopkins, which he directed until 2005. He was among the pioneers and early advocates of patient-controlled analgesia in pediatrics — a protocol that allows pediatric patients and their parents to press a button to receive a shot of intravenous pain medication. Under Yaster’s vision, Johns Hopkins was among the first hospitals in the United States to allow children, family members and nurses — and not solely physicians — to do so.

In addition, Yaster and his team have condition-specific pain management protocols that reflect the different needs of children with a wide range of medical conditions, including trauma, surgery and chronic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis.

“Myron Yaster is a truly transformative force in the field of pediatric pain management, and his work has redefined our understanding of pediatric pain and has led to new ways to diagnose and treat pediatric pain in all its forms — chronic, acute and post-surgical,” says George Dover, M.D., the pediatrician-in-chief at Johns Hopkins and director of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. “This award could have not gone to a more deserving inaugural recipient.”

Yaster earned his medical degree from State University of New York, followed by a pediatrics residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and an anesthesiology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia before joining Johns Hopkins in 1983.

Yaster is the author of two books, Pain in Infants, Children, and Adolescents” and The Pediatric Pain Management and Sedation Handbook, both considered classic texts in the field of pediatric anesthesiology.

Yaster will receive the society’s award on Oct. 10 at the organization’s 28th annual meeting in New Orleans.