Texas Society of Anesthesiologists
TSA Annual Meeting


Carin Hagberg, MD, FASA
Dr. Carin Hagberg was born and raised in South Hadley, a small town in western Massachusetts. The middle of three children, her father was a high school counselor and her mother a librarian and secretary for the principal of her grammar school. Her love of learning, especially science, was evident at an early age. She was a member the National Honor Society at South Hadley High School, graduating Pro Merito and received the Bausch and Lomb Science Award, as well as several scholarship awards.

Her intelligence and early achievements earned her a full academic scholarship to Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, but Dr. Hagberg had other plans.

She left her hometown to attend St. Anselm’s College, a small liberal arts college located in Manchester, New Hampshire. The college had a reputable nursing program and Dr. Hagberg initially pursued that career path. But it did not take long – her sophomore year – for Dr. Hagberg to realize she wanted to become a physician, which prompted her transfer to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Since UMass did not offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, she majored in Zoology. She had always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind and behavior, so she minored in Psychology for her own personal growth and understanding.

When choosing medical schools, Dr. Hagberg took into account affordability since she would shoulder those costs. She decided upon Texas and moved to Houston to accept an opportunity to work as a research assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center and to establish her residency for in-state tuition. The experience offered several additional benefits, including overcoming her fear of needles after completing an apprenticeship in the phlebotomy laboratory, where she became skilled in this specialty.

The majority of her time was spent in the clinical immunology laboratory under the direction of Dr. Evan Hersch and Dr. James Reuben. One experience that stands out among many was working with patients who had a life expectancy of six months or less who were on experimental immunotherapy protocols. Working with these brave souls left a lasting impression about those facing such serious health conditions.

Houston had become Dr. Hagberg’s home away from home and she matriculated into her first choice of Texas medical schools: The University of Texas Medical School at Houston a year after moving to the Bayou city. During her rotations, Dr. Betty Stephenson encouraged Dr. Hagberg to perform a clerkship in anesthesiology. This experience sparked such interest and passion that Dr. Hagberg changed her specialty of choice from obstetrics to anesthesiology.

Dr. Hagberg moved to Dallas to perform her internship in general surgery and to complete her anesthesiology training at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Her residency included extensive training in neuroanesthesia at Zale Lipshy Pavilion, a world renown neurological diagnostic and treatment center where she developed a keen interest in this subspecialty of anesthesia. Dr. Hagberg served as Chief Resident in her final year, and it was during this time she had a career-defining experience. A patient had an unrecognized difficult airway, which ultimately required the surgeon of record to perform a surgical cricothyrotomy. This made such a significant impact on Dr. Hagberg, she resolved to specialize in difficult airway management and to become an airway expert.

She returned to Houston after completing her training to join the faculty at The University of Texas Houston Medical School. Given her background, she was tapped as service chief of the neuroanesthesia service. Over the next two decades, she established her clinical practice, solidified her reputation as an expert in airway management and discovered her passion for teaching, mentoring, research and leadership.

Dr. Hagberg’s academic achievements include approximately 100 peer reviewed articles, over 44 book chapters and 23 editorials or letters to the editor. She serves as the editor of many books, including 5 of the 7 books she has published. In 1996, the first edition of Airway Management: Principles and Practice was published, which later became known as Hagberg and Benumof’s Airway Management and unofficially called the “bible of airway management.” The fifth edition was released in 2022. Dr. Hagberg serves as an editor for many journals, including the British Journal of Anesthesiology and Anesthesia and Analgesia.

Dr. Hagberg’s work has been funded by more than 50 grants and has made an impact both across the US and globally. She has been involved in the development of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Practice Guidelines on Management of the Difficult Airway since their initial development in 1992. Her work has stretched beyond the United States as Chair of the Project for Universal Management of Airway (PUMA), an international and multidisciplinary collaborative for universal airway management principles that apply across medical specialties and geographic boundaries. In addition, Dr. Hagberg serves as an Overseas Advisor for the All India Difficult Airway Association and is an honorary member of the European Airway Management Society.

Indicative of Dr. Hagberg’s dedication to lifelong learning, she obtained her Certificate of Business Administration from ASA in 2007 to build her leadership skills at the time she became Vice Chair of Anesthesiology at the McGovern Medical School. She was named Chair of the department one year later and served in that role for nine years. She joined MD Anderson as Head of the Division of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine from 2016 to 2022. In 2018, she was asked to expand the scope of her leadership as Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at MD Anderson. To further strengthen her leadership skills, Dr. Hagberg completed the Coach Rice program in 2019 and graduated in 2021 from The University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, Governor’s Executive Development Program. Currently, Dr. Hagberg is working on becoming a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

While Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston and Chief of Anesthesia Services at Memorial-Hermann-TMC Dr. Hagberg oversaw the implementation of the Surgical Home Model of patient care to orthopedic trauma patients at MHH-TMC, one of the busiest level I trauma centers in the country. The Department became one of the nation’s MOCA recertification centers for anesthesiologists and created the Benjamin M. Rigor Alumni Society which established and supported the Joseph C. Gabel Visiting Professorship. An affiliation with Case Western Reserve for an Anesthesiologist Assistant Training Program was established and two new fellowship programs (neuroanesthesia and trauma anesthesia) were developed. By establishing a departmental group membership, the department was able to achieve 100% participation of faculty and residents in both the ASA and the TSA.

Carin Hagberg, MD, FASA While at MD Anderson, Dr. Hagberg has continued her clinical and research efforts and has held two significant leadership roles, Chief Academic Officer and Division Head of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine. She has been the holder of endowed positions, most recently the Bud Johnson Clinical Distinguished Chair while serving as Professor with tenure. Her accomplishments as Division Head include creating two new fellowship programs (regional and airway management), establishing the Division’s first multi-department joint appointments, and opening the Perioperative Evaluation and Management (POEM) Center. Under her leadership, division faculty doubled the number of active trials per year and achieved a 4-fold increase in the number of sponsored trial agreements. Dr. Hagberg also championed goal concordant care in the ICU, in addition to serving as a member of the Executive Leadership Team at MD Anderson.

As the Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Hagberg is responsible for ensuring excellence in academics throughout MD Anderson. She provides executive oversight for the institution’s vast education and training efforts, including two degree-granting schools and more than 1,000 trainees annually including residents, fellows, and post-graduate trainees. She has successfully recruited leaders who are building several impactful programs to support the success of faculty, including the Center for Professionalism Support and Success, Faculty and Academic Career Development and Faculty and Academic Wellness. She works closely with the institution’s Leadership Institute, providing curriculum guidance and serving as Faculty Leader Liaison for the Institute’s External Advisory Board. She prioritizes coaching faculty to further develop their leadership skills, is an active mentor and a member of the institutional Academic Mentoring Committee.

Dr. Hagberg has a long track record of teaching others. She reintroduced the Difficult Airway Workshop at the TSA annual meeting in 2006 and has served as the Director of this workshop for many years. At the ASA annual meetings, she has given a refresher course lecture on Current Concepts in Airway Management for 10 consecutive years, various other lectures including the Ovassapian Memorial lecture, served as a panelist or moderator on numerous occasions and conducted multiple workshops.

Dr. Hagberg is currently actively engaged in high reliability training and conducting invasive airway workshops for her anesthesia colleagues at MD Anderson. She has received numerous teaching awards throughout her career, most recently in 2022 when she was elected to The University of Texas Kenneth I. Shine, MD, Academy of Health Science Education.

Dr. Hagberg has been a leader for several professional organizations, including serving as President and Executive Director of the Society of Airway Management (SAM) and President of the Texas Gulf Coast Anesthesia Society. Dr. Hagberg has been an active member of TSA for decades and has contributed to this society by serving on numerous committees, including serving as Chair of the Judicial Committee (both currently and in the past), as well as by participating in the TSA Annual Meeting in various roles, and serving as a TSA-ASA Alternate Delegate and ASA Delegate, a PAC Board member and a Legislative Key Contact.

Her excellence, innovation and dedication have been recognized by many organizations in the US and abroad. She received SAM’s Distinguished Service Award in 2012, Leading Physician of the World and Top Anesthesiologist in Houston (2017), 18th Sir William Macewan Medal, Difficult Airway Society, UK (2018), Distinguished Research Award from the International Airway Management Society (2018) and Commitment to Mentoring Award at MD Anderson (2019). Dr. Hagberg was named as one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare Award in Houston in 2019, a program which honors female executives who are guiding healthcare delivery improvement across the country. She recently received the Magnificent Seven Award by Prayers of the People, which honors individuals who are deeply invested in faith-based service.

Dr. Hagberg is grateful for the many individuals who have encouraged her, including mentorship by those previously mentioned and two of the most influential individuals in airway management: Dr. Andranik Ovassapian and Dr. Jonathan Benumof. Family is extremely important to Dr. Hagberg and she is ever so thankful for the support of her parents and siblings who always believed in women practicing medicine. She credits her loving husband, Steve, for his encouragement and handling of her very busy work and travel schedule. Dr. Hagberg has three daughters who have come to appreciate all that she has accomplished while raising them and who have grown to become amazing women. Her gratitude also extends to her blended family for all of their love and support over the years.

Brochure TOC -> Next ->