In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the ISA pays tribute to our physicians who have made outstanding contributions to the field of anesthesiology.

Asokumar Buvanendran, MB.BS



Asokumar Buvanendran, MB.BSis a Professor of Anesthesiology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  He completed his Anesthesia Residency and Pain Medicine Fellowship at Rush University.  He is board-certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. He has held numerous appointments and leadership roles in the Department of Anesthesiology at Rush University where he is the Endowed Chair, William Gottschalk Chair of Anesthesiology.

As the Medical Director, Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, where he created the initial ERAS protocols for Rush Medical Center. He is a national leader in pain management research, having written more than 150 peer reviewed papers regarding treatments for acute and chronic pain patients and has held several grants for research including NIH in these areas. He hosted the 20th USA Surgeon General (VADM, Dr. Jerome Adams) in June 2019 to meet with Rush University leadership and present to the Rush community on the “Opioid Epidemic.”  He was the lead member and co-author of national guidelines for the Management of chronic pain patients during the COVID 19 pandemic.  

D. Buvanendran has held numerous appointments in both the ASA and ISA. This includes ASA delegate and alternate delegate, Chair of ASA Pain Committee, ISA President, and currently the District 14 Director. He has served as the President of Illinois Society of Interventional Pain Society, President of American Society of Regional Analgesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA) and the President of the World Congress of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine.

Ajay K. Gopalka, MD 

Ajay K. Gopalka, MD is a board-certified Pediatric Anesthesiologist and Pediatrician. He completed his initial medical training in India before migrating to the United States. He completed his Pediatrics residency at Rush University and his Anesthesia residency at the University of Chicago. He is in private practice with West Central Anesthesiology Group of Northwestern Medicine at Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) in Winfield, IL. He has served as the Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at CDH and has been a member of several committees at the medical staff level. He has been involved with Illinois Society of Anesthesiologists since 2008 and is presently serving as its secretary. 

Dr. Gopalka believes in advocating for our patients and our specialty every day. He strongly believes that the future of our profession is very bright even with all of the recent changes in the healthcare environment. He encourages all of our colleagues to be involved in shaping our future through education, advocacy and leadership.

Charles Kim, MD  

Charles Kim, MD completed medical school, residency and pain medicine fellowship at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  He is board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine.

He has been practicing with DuPage Valley Anesthesiologists at Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL since 1998.  He has served in many leadership roles throughout his time at Edward Hospital, including President and Vice President of DuPage Valley Anesthesiologists.  He has also served as President of DuPage Valley Pain Specialists and also as Director of Pain Management Services at Edward Hospital. Since 1997, he has been involved in the ISA in various roles.  He has served as District III director.  He currently serves as an ASA delegate and the treasurer of the ISA.

Helen Lee, MD, MPH   

Helen Lee, MD, MPH is a tenured Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Adjunct Associate Professor in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed her residency at The University of Chicago and her fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology at Johns Hopkins University. She has an exemplary focus on preventative care and health equity. She summarizes her important work:

“As a pediatric anesthesiologist, my clinical experiences place me in a unique position to inform research and interventions on surgical patients. Through my clinical observations, I became interested in understanding the factors that contribute to poor oral health outcomes for certain pediatric patients. Childhood caries is a largelypreventable disease process and use of operating rooms and associated resources can be an expensive, inefficient use of scarce resources. My research interests include: the impact of policy on utilization of tertiary oral health services,such as emergency departments and general anesthesia; testing interventions in the perioperative period to improveoral health outcomes; and understanding factors that contribute to dental sedation safety.”

Mohammed Minhaj, MD, MBA, FASA, FACHE


Mohammed Minhaj, MD, MBA, FASA, FACHE is a Professor in the Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care at the University of Chicago where he is a member of the cardiothoracic and obstetric anesthesia divisions. A former Residency Program Director, he is currently the President of the Medical Staff Organization at UChicago Medicine. Dr. Minhaj is a Fellow of the Academy of Distinguished Medical Educators at the Pritzker School of Medicine, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

In addition to being active on ASA committees, in 2021 he received the ASA/Society for Education in Anesthesia Distinguished Educator in Anesthesiology Award. Dr. Minhaj was also recently named an inaugural member of the Leadership Advisory Board for the Association of University Anesthesiologists, which is focused on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in academic anesthesiology. Dr. Minhaj has also served the American Board of Anesthesiology in various capacities (examiner, committees, etc) and was elected to the ABA Board of Directors in January of 2021. He was recently appointed as the incoming Chair of the Department of Anesthesia at NorthShore University Health System and will be joining NorthShore in September of 2021.

Christine Park, MD, FASA, FSSH  

Christine Park, MD, FASA, FSSH is the Director of the Simulation and Integrative Learning (SAIL) Institute at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a Professor of Anesthesiology and Medical Education. SAIL is a state-of-the-art 28,000 sf facility serving healthcare learners across the continuumof training. She is a global leader and past president of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, the largest healthcare simulation society in the world. She serves on the editorial board for Simulation in Healthcare, is an editor for Special Projects at OpenAnesthesia. org, and recently began a new role as Senior Medical Advisor to CAE Healthcare.

Dr. Park received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Yale University, her MD from her home state of Indiana, and did her anesthesiology residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She loves simulation because it can bring about transformation. “We can use it to explore humanity, starting from ourselves as individuals as well as our responsibilities as a society to make the world a better place.” For example, she is collaborating to create innovative newsimulations to provide training in bystander/upstander interactions. During these disruptive times, she’s found the courage to make kimchi for the first time. Her mission is to strengthen healthcare practice and culture through innovations bold and subtle, encouraging curiosity, creative engagement, and global collaboration.

Lisa P. Solomon, DO  

Lisa P. Solomon, DO is a board-certified Cardiothoracic Anesthesiologist.  She serves as Secretary and managing partner of Rockford Anesthesiologists Associated, LLC.  Dr. Solomon is Vice Chair of the Department of Anesthesia at Swedish American Hospital and has served within various medical staff leadership roles between two major health systems in the Northern Illinois region. Dr. Solomon was also integral in implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion hospital initiatives within Swedish American Hospital. 

As a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Dr. Solomon is a committee member of the Professional Diversity Committee and the Committee on Young Physicians. She is the ASA Alternate Director and Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Illinois Society of Anesthesiologists.  Dr. Solomon has a strong passion in developing mentorship opportunities from early medical education through early career transitions. In addition, she has focused her time on bridging the current multigenerational workforce within the field of Anesthesiology. Dr. Solomon looks forward to continuing to empower the next generation of diverse physician anesthesiologists, strengthen the role of physician leaders and encourage the future of our specialty to advocate for our patients and profession.