Bonica Scholars Program - UW Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine

Bonica Scholars Research Program

Meet our Bonica Scholars

Training future leaders in academic medicine

To prepare residents for the challenge of leading the future development of academic anesthesiology and research in all aspects of this field, UW Anesthesiology has created the Bonica Scholars Program. This program is designed to provide advanced training opportunities for exceptional individuals who desire a career in academic anesthesiology.

Program Overview

The “Bonica Scholars Program” is named for John Bonica, the first chair of Anesthesiology at University of Washington and a pioneer in the fields of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. The Bonica Scholars Program is a 4-year program intended to provide high quality clinical training and comprehensive mentoring from program leadership and from externally-funded principal investigators. Those who are interested are encouraged to apply for additional clinical and research fellowship training within UW APM to follow completion of the Bonica Scholars Program.


Bonica Scholars Program — 2 positions available for 2024: This is a program designed for applicants who wish to pursue a research career following anesthesiology residency.  In addition to indicating interest in this track on the ERAS application, a separate 2-page application will be requested of the applicant at the time they are invited for an interview as a Bonica Scholar.

Bonica applicants will have two interviews to maximize their chance to explore the program.  The first interview day will be with other categorical residency applicants and with clinical faculty interviewers.  The second interview day will be with research faculty.  On this interview day, Bonica applicants will have the chance to meet potential research mentors and current Bonica Scholars and discuss their research interests with the program leadership. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to discuss their interest in the Bonica program with Dr. Matthew Hallman.

  • Throughout their time in the Bonica Scholars Program, trainees will receive excellent clinical training in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine.
  • They will also receive rigorous training in research methodologies relevant to their area or focus including, but not limited to, scientific principles, statistical methods, scientific writing and grant applications, and ethical research practices.


  • Mentorship will be provided by externally-funded principal investigators and complemented by program leadership, residency leadership, and clinical faculty.
  • Bonica Scholars will also have regular opportunities to attend journal clubs, seminars, and contribute to national meetings such as the Association of University Anesthesiologists (AUA), the Internation Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), and the Western Anesthesia Residents Conference (WARC).

Potential research foci for Bonica Scholars include, but are not limited to, the example topics below.

Population Health and Health Systems

  • Bioethics
  • Health care economics
  • Bioinformatics
  • Health metrics

Clinical and Translational Research

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Outcomes
  • Palliative care
  • Health Services
  • Clinical trials
  • Novel quality improvement

Basic Science

  • Fundamental neuroscience (consciousness, sleep, anesthetic mechanisms/toxicity)
  • Fundamental pharmacology (receptor biology, drug targets/mechanisms)
  • Mechanisms of cell death/organ failure (ischemia/hypoxia, cardiomyopathy, sepsis)
  • Mechanisms of pain, addiction, nociception
  • Bioengineering
  • Genomics

The University of Washington is known for its strategic, multidisciplinary research. Within our extensive network of Centers and Institutes, UW researchers, staff, and students work across disciplines to extend the boundaries of knowledge. Working with researchers in the UW APM department is supported but is not required. Bonica Scholars are encouraged to work with program leadership to find the mentor(s) who are the best fit for them and their training goals.

The 4 years of residency training will be based on the ABA 48 months Research Template, which includes a maximum of 11 months of research spread over the 48 months of training. Those who are interested are encouraged to apply for additional clinical and research fellowship training within UW APM to follow completion of the Bonica Scholars Program. The following is an illustration and description of the customary allotment of designated research time (with flexibility to optimize based on individual needs) throughout each of the years of training.

  • Year 1: Clinical Base Year (CBY). One month of research with an orientation to potential research mentors and research resources will be offered in the latter part of the CBY, the UW APM integrated Internship program where residents complete multiple general and subspeciality medical service rotations.
  • Year 2-3: Clinical Anesthesia Year 1 and 2 (CA1 and CA2). Two months of research will be offered during each of the CA1 and CA2 years, concurrent with the resident building a solid foundation of clinical skill in general and specialty anesthesia and perioperative disciplines of pain management and critical care. Timing of research months will be determined in conjunction with program leadership during the previous residency year (i.e., during CBY for CA1 and during CA1 for CA2).
  • Year 4: CA3. Six months of research will be offered during the CA3 year. This may initiate participation in the departmental NIH T32 training program. During the 6 months of research, clinical skills will be maintained with a 20% clinical commitment. Timing of research months will be determined in conjunction with program leadership during the previous residency year (i.e., during CA2 for CA3).
  • Year 5-7: (Optional) Clinical Fellowship and/or Research Fellowship: UW APM has a substantial number of ACGME and non-ACGME clinical fellowship programs as well as NIH T32 Research Fellowship training program. Those who are interested are encouraged to apply for additional clinical and research fellowship training within UW APM to follow completion of the Bonica Scholars Program.

Overview of research/clinical time

  • CBY: 1 month research / 0% clinical effort during research month
  • CA1: 2 months research / 0% clinical effort during research month
  • CA2: 2 months research / 0% clinical effort during research month
  • CA3: 6 months research / 20% clinical effort during research months
  • Fellowship: Variable

A total research allowance of $20,000 will be available for the duration of the Bonica Scholars Program to be used for supplies, expenses related to presentations, publications, or other essential research expenses.

  • The Bonica Scholars residents are selected through the National Residency Match Process (NRMP) in March each year. Applications for the Bonica Scholars Program are accepted only through the NRMP system. Residents are required to apply to the core residency program using the Electronic Resident Application Service (ERAS). Applicants are also required to complete a short additional application by completing a short questionnaire about their research interests and career goals.

    All interviews will be held virtually (on Zoom) for the 2023-24 match cycle.

    Bonica Scholars candidates will be selected for interview based on their accomplishments including performance in medical school and undergraduate studies, USMLE (or equivalent) scores, prior research experience and success, leadership, volunteer and professional activities.

    Bonica applicants will have two interviews. The first interview day will be with other categorical residency applicants and with clinical faculty interviewers.  The second interview day will be with research faculty.  On this interview day, Bonica applicants will have the chance to meet potential research mentors and current Bonica Scholars, discuss their research interests with the program leadership, and participate in a Q&A reception with research faculty. These sessions are not part of the selection process. This is instead meant as an informal information session for the applicant to meet with faculty (and current Bonica Scholars) within their potential fields of interest, to ask questions, and generally learn more about the program.

    A rank order of candidates will be submitted to the NRMP. Candidate assessments will be based on academic merit, previous experience, program fit, and interview. Candidates for the Bonica Scholars Program are not excluded from applying for the general 4-year residency program or 5-year combined ICU program. Successful candidates will join the anesthesiology CBY in June after the match or may join the Bonica Program as CA1s after completion of the CBY elsewhere.


Bonica Scholars will be expected to participate as much as possible in the workshops and seminars available to T32 postdoctoral trainees in the department. The sessions occur monthly, may include UW and external guest speakers, and rotate between four topics below. We presently meet monthly on Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m.

1. Writer’s Workshop.

The purpose of this seminar is to provide critical instruction in writing and peer review, which are essential to gaining the practical experience to carry out these tasks independently in their future academic careers. Trainees present drafts of manuscripts, receiving feedback from peer trainees and faculty investigators. The workshop creates a submission deadline that greatly assists trainees in reaching goals for scientific writing. We have successfully implemented Writer’s Workshop for over a decade in other predoctoral and postdoctoral training programs.

2. Grant Writing Seminar.

This goal of this seminar is to equip investigators with tools to develop and write more effective grant applications. The seminar includes peer and instructor review of grant application materials. The rotating nature of the seminar allows for continued exposure to grantsmanship training, creating opportunities for feedback on proposals under development over the course of the research training. Curriculum topics include developing a research idea, identifying a suitable mechanism, early career grant mechanisms, crafting specific aims, sections of a research grant, NIH review criteria, and peer review and interpretation of summary statements. Reading materials for the workshop include Writing the NIH Grant Proposal: A Step-by-Step Guide, Second Edition by Gerin & Kapelewski (2011). Faculty mentors involved in the training program will attend specific sessions so that trainees can get feedback on their aims from an interdisciplinary group of funded investigators conducting anesthesiology research.

3. Journal Club.

Journal club provides an opportunity to explore contemporary anesthesiology and peri- operative medicine research. It is important for trainees to be able to critically read, analyze, present, and discuss manuscripts published in the scientific literature. Trainees have a research journal club that meets in a faculty member’s home. In addition to discussing an interesting journal article relevant to one of the trainee’s research, this provides additional opportunity for networking and mentoring.

4. Work-in-Progress (WIP) Seminar.

The WIP Seminar provides an opportunity for trainees to present their ongoing or planned work for review and discussion, allowing trainees to get critical feedback on their proposed studies from an interdisciplinary group of investigators. Trainees prepare oral presentations of their proposed project and put forward critical discussion questions. This permits experience with presenting their science to interdisciplinary audiences and allows for critique of the research.

5. Other UW Anesthesiology Seminars

Additional seminars and conferences are available at the UW through the regular departmental educational offerings and through the Institute for Translational Health Sciences. Research trainees are expected to regularly attend UW APM Grand Rounds as well as the main seminar series for the department in which their mentor has their primary appointment. Other seminars related to a trainee’s research project are available across the university. The department sponsors an annual Raymond Fink Memorial Research Conference and an annual Academic Evening. These two events allow research trainees an opportunity to present their research to the rest of the department.

6. ITHS Career Development Seminar Series.

UW was awarded a NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) known at our institution as the Institute for Translational Health Sciences (ITHS). The UW ITHS offers a valuable partnership for translational research training. The educational programs within the ITHS consist of graduate degree programs as well as post-doctoral fellowships ongoing translational research education that can be accessed by any trainee. The specific opportunities for participation in formal degree programs are through our School of Public Health and Community Medicine with the potential for MPH, MS, MSE and MSHS, and doctoral degrees as well.

Within the ITHS there are a multitude of ongoing educational programs including “short courses” such as research conduct, biomedical ethics, basic study design, clinical trials, meta-analysis, and application and proposal preparation. The courses listed vary in length from a few well-crafted sessions to a week of concentrated instruction in research methods and procedures. Documentation of participation in these offerings can be obtained by certification. Furthermore, there are educational curricula in the conduct of clinical research and good clinical practice for both the investigator and their research team.

Additional courses are provided in specific laboratory techniques, how to develop therapeutic products, and business development. These educational opportunities are offered at no charge to students and are available on an ongoing basis. Finally, students have access to a variety of Institute sources; significant pilot project funds, subsidized access to a biostatistician, research coordinator support, and use of the clinical research center program, to name a few services.

To remain in good standing in the residency program, ALL residents (including the Bonica Scholars residents) must satisfy the essential requirements mandated by the ACGME, the ABA and the UW Anesthesiology residency program, described in the UW Anesthesiology Resident Manual.

A resident must also have a satisfactory UW APM Clinical Competence Committee report for 6 months of Clinical Anesthesia training immediately preceding any research period unless prospectively approved by the ABA Credentials Committee. An overview of the domains of competency and expectations are below.

1. Clinical competency

Residents who enter the Bonica Scholars Program are required to maintain a high standard of clinical, professional, and academic achievement. Specifically, Bonica Scholars residents must be at or above the ACGME and ABA milestone levels for their training year in order to receive approval for research rotations and must pass the ABA part 1 (Basic) examination.

2. Research competency

In addition to clinical excellence, scholars are expected to achieve research-based competencies in research methods, implementation, and dissemination during their residency training. Scholars will demonstrate competency in designing sound research studies and display an understanding of study design, experimental methodology, and appropriate statistics. They should be capable of organizing and implementing data collection as appropriate to their field of investigation. Scholars should demonstrate a level of research productivity commensurate with their level of professional development, which may include preparing grant proposals and manuscripts, publishing, and presenting research findings.

3. Communication expectations

The Residency Program Director will have overall responsibility for scheduling the Bonica Scholar’s research time in a way that both meets the Bonica Scholars resident’s needs and needs of the training program (for example during July when only 2/3 of the resident body are available to take call it is very difficult to grant residents time off).

To facilitate meeting scheduling needs for academic meetings and conferences, Bonica Scholars and/or their mentors are expected to reach out to the residency program director and Chief Residents (who are responsible for monthly OR schedules) at least 4 months in advance for the program director to review requests for residents to attend any academic meetings that would require time away from regularly-scheduled clinical duties.

4. Research Portfolio

Each Bonica Scholar in conjunction with the Bonica Scholar-Specific Mentor Committee will be required to develop a research portfolio. The portfolio should include the updated Learning Contract with the Bonica Scholar’s research goals, details of projects, conferences attended; abstracts and papers submitted and published, etc. The research mentor will be asked to complete a yearly evaluation to rate research competencies and progress of the Scholar.

5. Evaluation of Progress

In May each year the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee will evaluate the progress of each Bonica Scholar. The Oversight Committee will review the Bonica Scholar’s academic and clinical performance (with input from the Clinical Competence Committee and Residency Program Director) and the Bonica Scholar’s research portfolio. The Chair of the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee will provide written documentation to the Residency Program Director of the Bonica Scholar’s continuation in the program.

The Bonica Scholars resident will be notified in writing of their successful continuance in the program by the end of June each year. Bonica Scholars residents who do not meet the requirements for continuation in the Bonica Scholars Program will be offered the opportunity to continue the regular 4-year clinical residency program but will no longer be eligible for the Bonica Scholars Program benefits and awards.

The oversight of the Bonica Scholars Program and the individual Bonica Scholars will ultimately be provided by the Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine in conjunction with the Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee, the Bonica Scholar’s individual mentor, and the Residency Program Director.

1. Meetings between Bonica Scholar and Bonica Program Director

The Bonica resident will meet twice a year with the Bonica Program Director, who will send a summary of that meeting to the Oversight Committee. See Mentor/Mentee Agreement for suggested discussion topics of biannual meetings.

2. Bonica Scholar-Specific Mentor Committee.

The Scholar-Specific Mentor Committee is intended to provide a formal mentoring process to assist residents in attaining their academic goals related to the Bonica Scholars Program as well as building productive training and career development experiences within the department. The Bonica Scholars Program Director serves as the initial mentor for all Scholars upon entry into the Program. Selection of a research mentor may require exploration of potential laboratories on the part of the resident before a commitment is made.

The mentor will facilitate early exposure to research in the university and assist the trainee in meeting with potential research mentors. The mentor will work with the Residency Program Director to determine when research time should occur during the clinical anesthesia years so that the resident’s research goals and needs can be met. Once a research mentor has been selected, they will join the mentoring committee. Scholars will complete a Learning Contract (see Appendix) at the beginning of the Program and update this document each year to list aims and goals for their research training. This Learning Contract will be shared at the mentoring committee meetings to summarize overall academic progress and progress toward training goals. Scholar- Specific Mentor Committees (consisting of the mentee, the departmental mentor, and their primary research mentor) will meet semiannually.

3. Bonica Scholars Oversight Committee.

The committee is available to help facilitate trainee/mentor matching and is the group that provides leadership for the resident in terms of supporting their presentations at national meetings, introducing them to academic leaders in the field, and joining them in social outings with visiting professors.

The Oversight Committee consists of the Residency Program Director, Bonica Program Director, Vice Chair for Research, and two other clinician scientists from the department. Committee activities include

  • Selection and recruitment of Bonica Scholars applicants,
  • Review training progress of current Bonica Scholars,
  • Provide oversight for Bonica Scholars resident mentoring either by functioning as the mentors or helping select appropriate mentors, and
  • in May each year, provide annual evaluation of each Bonica Scholar and confirm their continuation
Program Director: Nicholas J. Kassebaum, MD
Residency Program Director: Matthew R. Hallman, MD
Program Administrator: Leanne Cornel