Dr. Michael Lewis Named Founding Chair, Department of Anesthesia

April 15, 2024

Michael Lewis, MD, has been named the founding chair of the College of Human Medicine Department of Anesthesia. He is the current chair of the Henry Ford Health Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine and has long been a leader in the field.

Michael Lewis, MDAs a child growing up in London, England, Michael Lewis wanted to become a historian.

“My view of being a historian didn’t match up with my parents’ view of the future for their only son,” he recalled. A career in medicine, they felt, would be more appropriate, and, fortunately for his patients and College of Human Medicine students, that is the path he chose.

“I fell in love with medicine,” said Lewis, MD, a prominent leader in anesthesiology who on April 1 became the founding chair of the College of Human Medicine’s new Department of Anesthesia. He will continue serving as the Joseph L. Ponka Chair in the Henry Ford Health Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Management, and Perioperative Medicine.

“I can’t communicate enough how excited we are about this,” Lewis said.

Lewis earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from University College London, followed by his initial training in anesthesiology. He lived and practiced medicine for several years in Israel before moving to the United States in 1990. He furthered his anesthesiology studies at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Philadelphia and then joined the staff at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Lewis assumed several important roles in medical education at the University of Miami, where he became senior associate dean for graduate medical education, and then as chair of anesthesiology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville.

Henry Ford Health recruited Lewis in 2015. MSU and Henry Ford Health formed a partnership – Henry Ford Health + MSU Health Sciences – in 2021 to advance medical education, research, and patient care. In August 2022, Lewis was appointed interim chair of MSU’s new statewide Department of Anesthesia. Seven months later, he assumed the job as founding chair of the new department.

“His leadership has been excellent and so important to the creation of the department and our preparation for this transition,” said College of Human Medicine Dean Aron Sousa.

“Now we can begin the hard work,” Lewis said. Over the coming months, he will meet with students, community leaders, and medical professionals across Michigan, forming alliances with medical practices that will be the basis for training future anesthesiologists. He will meet with MSU researchers conducting basic medical studies, looking for ways to translate their findings into better patient care.

Lewis said he hopes to recruit more medical students into anesthesiology to meet a shortage in that specialty.

Anesthesiologists, he said, meet “with people at the most vulnerable times of their lives,” monitoring their vital signs during surgery, caring for them post op, helping them with pain management, and in many other areas of care.

Lewis is president of the Society of Academic Associations of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and the Michigan Society of Anesthesiologists. He is also a member of the Michigan Board of Medicine. Despite his busy schedule, which includes caring for patients, Lewis said he will spend much of his time traveling the state and building the new Department of Anesthesia.

“We want to be the best (anesthesia) program in the Midwest,” he said. “We want to build a robust translational science program. And then, obviously, we want to impact the clinical care of patients.

“I think there is this huge, bright city on the hill that we are aiming for.”