Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine >> Education >> Residency Training Bonica Scholars Program

Residency Training Program:
Bonica Scholars Program


The Bonica Scholars Research Program is a selective research residency track that fosters scientific discovery in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine. Our program is designed to provide world-class clinical and research training for exceptional individuals who desire a career in academic anesthesiology. We select up to two individuals a year through the residency match process.

Program Description

Bonica Portrait

The Bonica Scholars Research Program derives its name from Dr. John Bonica, a pioneer in pain medicine and the first chair of the anesthesiology department at UW.  Widely considered the founding father of pain management, Dr. Bonica established the first multi-disciplinary pain center at UW in 1961 and authored over 240 articles and the quintessential pain medicine textbook The Management of Pain. Continuing his research legacy, the Bonica Scholar Research Program is a five-year training opportunity for anesthesiology residents committed to a career in academic research. Our goal is to provide high quality clinical training, rigorous research instruction and comprehensive mentoring to support successful academic careers.

The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) allows for a maximum of 11 months of research time during the four required post-graduate years of anesthesiology residency training. Our flexible program allocates this time starting with the first clinical base intern year and subsequent three years of clinical anesthesia (CA) training (see Table).  We also provide up to $20,000 in research funding that can be used during the five-year program as well as a taxable $10,000 stipend during the CA3 year.

Research Allocation

The above table shows the general allocation of research time over the post-graduate years (PGY) which include a clinical base year (CBY), three clinical anesthesia (CA) years and a fifth year of research time in the department depending on the scholar’s interests. Fellowship training is optional (although highly encouraged) after completion of the five year program.

Selection Process

The Bonica Scholar residents are selected through the National Residency Match Process (NRMP) in March of each year. 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.

Bonica Scholar 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, potential, and productivity, leadership, volunteer and professional activities. Candidates will be invited to an informal reception with members of the Bonica Scholar Oversight committee, which is held 2-3 times during the interview season on Sunday afternoons before the general resident interviews. In addition, candidates will be encouraged to meet and discuss their career goals and research interests with UW faculty members. Candidates will be evaluated based on their academic merit, previous experience, research potential, and their performance during the interviews.

A rank order of candidates will be submitted to the NRMP (program number 1918040C2). Candidates for the Bonica Scholar Program are not excluded from applying for the general 4-year residency program or 5-year combined ICU program. We encourage interested candidates to rank the UW Anesthesiology residency program in addition to ranking the Bonica Scholars Research Program. Applications for the Bonica Scholars Research Program are accepted only through the NRMP system. Successful candidates will join the anesthesiology CBY in June after the match.

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Core Research Areas

The UW Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine has four core focus areas of research across our hospitals and research institutions: pain medicine and neuroscience, mitochondrial biology and genomics, clinical outcomes and epidemiology and medical training and patient education. A full description of the department’s research can be found here.

Pain Medicine Research AreasOverview of Current Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine Research Areas

Many of our faculty collaborate with academic departments across the UW, which receives more federal research funding than any other American public university, a ranking held since 1974. Last year, the University of Washington received more than $1 billion in sponsored research funds, and ranks among the best medical schools in the nation in both primary care and research. The UW Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine also ranks among the top five NIH-funded anesthesiology departments in the US and has been awarded a prestigious T32 NIH postdoctoral research training grant to support the development of anesthesiology clinician-scientists.

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Current Bonica Scholars

Dr. C. William Carspecken
C. William Carspecken, MD, MSc, MBA, CA3

C. William Carspecken, MD, MSc, MBA, CA3

Will grew up in Colorado and came to the University of Washington in 2013 after graduating from Harvard Medical School. He did a research fellowship and master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Oxford University, developing a novel low-cost spirometer for use in chronic lung disease. He published work as a researcher in clinical informatics at Stanford University and on cell mechanisms of hematologic stem cells at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. He also worked in translational immunology at both Baylor College of Medicine and the National Jewish Research Center in Denver.

At the University of Washington as a Bonica Scholar, Will is the lead investigator on a funded prospective clinical trial (NCT02752724) exploring the neurobiology of ketamine for depression with Dr. Irene Rozet at the VA Puget Sound in conjunction with Dr. Daniel Raftery at the Northwest Metabolomics Center. He is correlating this clinical work with a mouse model of ketamine resistance at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute with Dr.  Phil Morgan and Dr. Margaret Sedensky. He received both VA and departmental grants for this work and plans to focus on the pharmacologic mechanisms of depression/pain, translational neurobiology and metabolic biomarkers.  

Dr. Elisabeth B. Powelson
Elisabeth B. Powelson, MD, MPH, CA2

Elisabeth B. Powelson, MD, MPH, CA2

 Lis grew up in Berkeley, California.  She came to the University of Washington in 2014 after graduating from the University of California Berkeley-University of California San Francisco Joint Medical Program.  She did her master's work at Berkeley studying healthcare utilization in women who use methamphetamine. Before going to medical school she worked for UCSF at San Francisco General Hospital in the methadone clinic providing case management services as well as working on a study to provide directly administered antiretroviral therapy to patients who had HIV.  As an undergraduate Lis put in some beach time at University of California Santa Barbara.

At University of Washington as a Bonica scholar Lis has been working with Dr. Michele Curatolo and Dr. Monica Vavilala on a prospective longitudinal study to investigate the development of chronic pain in patients who are admitted to Harborview Medical Center.  She also tries to find time to enjoy the beautiful outdoors that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  She enjoys skiing, camping, backpacking and hiking. 

Dr. Flora Li
Flora Li, MD, CA1

Flora Li, MD, CA1

Flora grew up in the Los Angeles area and came to the University of Washington after graduating from medical school at the University of California, San Diego.  While in undergrad at Caltech, she worked on the C. elegans response to environmental pheromones and on a translational research project seeking to develop an immunotherapy for neuroblastoma at Stanford.  In medical school, she became interested in ultrasound and echocardiography and worked on a project using TTE to assess effects of epidurals and spinals on diastolic function in laboring women.  At UW, she is currently working with Dr. Burkhard Mackensen on using 3-D TEE to improve measurement of the left atrial appendage and sizing of left atrial appendage closure devices.  She is also exploring using preoperative gastric ultrasound to reduce risk of aspiration events. 

Dr. Jordan Starr
Jordan Starr, MD, CA1

Jordan Starr, MD, CA1

Jordan is a Washington native who went to undergrad at the University of Washington and medical school at the University of Michigan. While in medical school, he developed an interest in applying data science and machine learning techniques to clinical research questions. His current projects involve working collaboratively with the anesthesia and neurology departments on large databases for neuro-anesthesia related questions regarding pain, stroke outcomes, and neuro-inflammation. In addition to clinical research, he is also involved in medical device, website, and mobile app development.



Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
Kelly Michaelsen, MD, PhD, CBY

Kelly Michaelsen, MD, PhD, CBY

Kelly grew up in Buffalo NY and completed her undergraduate, MD and PhD at Dartmouth College. Her PhD is in biomedical engineering, developing a breast imaging system combining x-ray tomosynthesis with near infrared light for improving noninvasive breast cancer detection. She has previously been funded through the NIH F30 and the Radiological Society of North America. In anesthesia, she has studied the effects of opioid administration after tonsillectomy in children. Areas of interest include device development, bioinformatics, imaging and biomedical optics.

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Bonica Scholar Alumni

Class of 2016

Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
Elizabeth Hansen, MD,

Elizabeth Hansen, MD, PhD

Pediatrics Fellow, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Dr. Hansen was academic chief resident 2015-2016 and completed a translational clinical research project. She created a near-real time clinical decision support tool for post-operative nausea and vomiting prophylaxis and studied compliance with clinical guidelines.



Michael Patz, MD
Michael Patz, MD

Michael Patz, MD, PhD

Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology Fellow, University of Colorado

Dr. Patz completed projects on hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and pulmonary physiology at high altitude during his research time at UW.



Resident Researcher 2016

Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
Jacob Sunshine,

Jacob Sunshine, MD, MS

Assistant Professor, UW Dept. of Anesthesiology

Dr. Sunshine graduated from the residency program in 2016 and was awarded a prestigious Foundation for Anesthesia Education Research (FAER) early investigator mentored award for $175,000 for a two-year period. His research at the University of Washington focuses on public health and the epidemiology of traumatic injuries. His FAER award is entitled, “Trauma anesthesia care: An analysis of motor vehicle crash management, risk factors and costs” and is mentored by Dr. Ali Mokdad PhD and Dr. Sam R. Sharar, MD.



Class of 2015

Dr. Kelly Michaelsen
Chinwe Nwaneshiudu,

Chinwe Nwaneshiudu, MD, PhD

Pain Medicine Fellow, Stanford University

Dr. Nwaneshiudu worked with Dr. Greg Terman on tolerance to opioid-induced respiratory depression after fentanyl and morphine administration focusing on signal transduction in mice.



Lance Relland, MD, PhD
Lance Relland,

Lance Relland, MD, PhD

Pediatric Fellow, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH

Dr. Relland worked on pediatric anesthesiology clinical research while a resident at UW.



Additional Information

Please call, email or write if you need additional information or assistance. Contact Louena Goodwin: 206-543-2773, fax 206-543-2958,

Our program is indexed on the AMA's Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database (FREIDA). Go to FREIDA and search for our program using our 10-digit identifier: 0405421161

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