International recognition for patient safety

23 October 2013

One of New Zealand’s most respected anaesthesiologists, Professor Alan Merry, has received international recognition for his work in patient safety.

Professor Merry was awarded an honorary membership of the American Society of Anaesthesiology last week. He is Head of the School of Medicine at the University of Auckland and practises anaesthesia and chronic pain management at Auckland City Hospital.

“This is a singularly high international honour which has been awarded to only 34 individuals in the world since 1935,” says the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor John Fraser. “Alan delivered the prestigious Ellison C. Pierce, Jr., MD Patient Safety Memorial Lecture in San Francisco last week as part of his receiving this honour.”

The lecture citation for Alan reads “your international recognition as a highly respected patient safety advocate and your scholarly contributions to this topic are greatly valued …”.

Alan’s lecture was delivered to the American Society of Anaesthesiology in front of clinicians from around the world.   (The ASA has in excess of 50,000 members worldwide).

Professor Merry says the recognition from the ASA meant a great deal to him.  “I am very grateful for this honour.  I feel fortunate that they have chosen to give this to me when there are many other people who also do so much to promote patient safety.”

“There are lots of people who have contributed as part of the team in the work that I have done and I’m thrilled to have this recognition of that work, particularly in patient safety.”

Professor Merry is also a Councillor of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists, Deputy Treasurer of the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists and Chair of the Board of the NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

He is on the Board of Lifebox, an international charitable initiative to improve standards of surgery and anaesthesia in low income areas of the world.

His three books, 15 book chapters and over 120 papers in peer reviewed journals reflect his interests in human factors, patient safety and simulation. He established the spinal cord stimulation service within the Auckland Regional Pain Service, and has a particular interest in using spinal cord stimulation to manage chronic intractable angina pectoris.


For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips, Media Relations Advisor,

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences,

The University of Auckland.


Tel +64 9 923 7383 or Mob 021416396

Professor Alan Merry