John J. Bonica - Biography
Professor John J. Bonica was born on February 16, 1917, on the small island of Filicudi, one of the seven islands that make up the Eolian archipelago, situated about 20 - 30 miles northeast of the island of Sicily. During the first 11 years, his life was idyllic, consisting of school in the morning and enjoying the blue Mediterranean Sea in the afternoon. His was what was considered at the time a middle class family who had a lovely home in Valle Di Chiesa overlooking five of the other Eolian Islands and with sufficient land to produce enough wine, olive oil, grain, and vegetables to permit the family to live comfortably. During World War I, the father Antonino, served four years in the Italian army at the Austrian front while the mother, Angela, supervised the workers in the vineyards, olive orchards and other agricultural land owned by the family. When the father returned from military service, he became Deputy Mayor, was appointed Director of the rural Postal Service and assumed the supervision of the work on the family property.
Although life continued to be comfortable on Filicudi, in 1925 John's father decided to emigrate to America in order to give his children better educational opportunities and a more stable and democratic future politically. In 1928, after fulfilling the requisites for emigration, Angela Zagame Bonica, together with son John and daughters Maria and Elisabetta, left Filicudi for Brooklyn, New York, to join her husband. Because of the severe currency restrictions of the time, the family was unable to transmit its funds, then considered a fairly large family fortune, to the United States. Despite this and despite the severe economic crisis in 1929, Antonino Bonica was able to keep his family comfortable through his work first as a common laborer, and two years later, after he had mastered the English language, employed as a supervisor of the American Telephone Company. During these early years the three children continued their studies in Brooklyn and John continued to pursue his goal to become a physician. Tragically, in 1932 his father died unexpectedly at the age of 55 leaving the family with only the meager savings they had accumulated in the four years since their arrival in America. John, at the age of 15, assumed responsibility for the family and almost lost hope of continuing his schooling. However, through the great devotion and sacrifices of his mother who immediately went to work in a factory, and through his own intense motivation, tenacity, and hard work, the family survived and John was able to continue his studies.
During the period 1932-1936, while attending high school and the first two years at Long Island University, John sold newspapers in the evenings and worked first shining shoes and then as a grocery clerk on the weekends - activities which earned him $20-22 per week which at the time was sufficient to help sustain the family. Despite this extraordinary workload, he continued to be an honor student in high school and at Long Island University and at the same time was intensely interested and very active in amateur wrestling.
In 1934 he won the New York City middleweight intercollegiate championship and two years later as a sophomore at Long Island University, he won the middleweight regional intercollegiate championship. It was after one of these important bouts that one of the foremost promoters in New York suggested to Bonica to become a professional wrestler and was told that if successful he could earn as much as 10 - 20 times his current income. Although he wished to continue amateur athletics, the financial possibilities prompted him to accept the offer. As was the custom of the time, he was asked to demonstrate his capabilities as a wrestler against Mr. Peter Sturgis, a former light heavyweight champion of the world, who at the time was 47 years old. When the two met in Bother's famous wrestling gymnasium on 42nd street in New York, the young 19- year-old very naive and somewhat egotistical Bonica felt somewhat insulted that he was asked to contest with such an "old man." However, within a few minutes of the start, Bonica began to realize the marked difference between professional and amateur wrestling: during the ensuing 30 minutes he was subjected to many, many very painful wrestling holds he had never dreamed of and had a very traumatic and indeed devastating experience. Despite this encounter, the promoter convinced Bonica to initiate an intensive training program during which time he sustained a number of injuries and after six months initiated what was to be a very active career in professional wrestling at a time it was a serious sport.
During the 14 years he was a professional (1936-1950) he wrestled in virtually every important wrestling center in the Northeast, Central, the Northwest part of the USA and Eastern Canada. Because he wished to continue his studies without interruption, during the last two years of college (1936-38) and during the two years while serving his internship and specialty training in New York (1942-44), he carried out these activities in the evening in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. During the four years of medical school in Milwaukee (1938-42), Wisconsin, his wrestling activities were limited to Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and Illinois, while during and after World War II, these activities were limited to British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. While in the East, he also had opportunities to wrestle in Montreal and Toronto, Canada. In addition, he spent three summers as "strong man" and wrestler "taking on all comers" as a member of some of the leading American touring circuses. He wrestled the leading light heavyweights in these regions including Dave Levin, Jesse James, George Becker, Maurice LaCappelle, Angelo Savoldi, Antone Leone, Ace Freeman, Leo Wallick, Tony Martinelli, Lee Grabel and others. Although a heavy light heavyweight (195 lb), Bonica also wrestled many heavyweight wrestlers including Everett Marshall, Ray Steele, Earl McCready, Michele Leone, Abe Cohen, Frank Stojak, Ernie and Rudie Dusek, Seele Samara, Ted Christie, and in the mid 1940s he had wrestled Jim Londos and Lou Thesz, who were the greatest wrestlers during the period 1930- 1970. In 1939 Bonica won the light heavyweight championship of Canada and two years later he held the light heavyweight championship of the world for a period of seven months by defeating Jesse James. Because he did not want his medical colleagues to know of his extracurricular activities, most of the time he wrestled under the name of Johnny (Bull) Walker, while in Milwaukee under the name of Joe Bucha. In the Northwest he wrestled under his own name, but subsequently for reasons that need not be detailed here, he wrestled as "The Masked Marvel." During his fourteen years as a professional wrestler, he participated in 1,485 indoor matches including some at the Madison Square Garden and other major centers; whereas while working for the circus, he wrestled in over 2,000 5-minute, 7-minute, and 10-minute matches (on Labor Day 1937 he wrestled 36 different matches in Brookfield, New York).
Professional Education and Activities
Dr. Bonica had three years of premedical education at Long Island University and the fourth year at New York University. In 1938 he matriculated at Marquette University School of Medicine where he was an honor student for four years. Promptly after his graduation in May 1942, he married Emma Louise Baldetti and began the war- accelerated program of internship (6 months) and specialty training in anesthesiology (18 months at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City.
At the completion of his four-week military training in May 1944, he was assigned as Chief of the Section of Anesthesia and Operating Theater of the Madigan Army Hospital, Fort Lewis, Tacoma, Washington, which in 1945-46 was one of the largest American military hospitals (7700 beds) and one of the two largest debarkation hospitals on the West Coast for receiving thousands of military personnel wounded in the Pacific Theater. He was also given responsibility for the organization and supervision of pulmonary therapy, the management of patients with severe pain consequent to war wounds, and put in charge of the blood bank. Because of the scarcity of trained physicians and nurse anesthetists, during the first six months he and two nurse anesthetists induced all of the 50 to 60 patients operated on each day with thiopental, ether, and tracheal intubation and then turned them over to partially trained army medical corpsmen. It was this experience which prompted Bonica to learn and refine regional anesthetic techniques which subsequently were used in 55 to 60% of the patients.
Within a short time he received orders from the army Surgeon General to initiate a three- month training program for physicians and a six-month training program for nurses in anesthesiology. During the ensuing 30 months he trained over 60 physicians and about 100 nurses, some of whom remained at Madigan to help Bonica while most were assigned to forward hospitals in the Pacific combat zones. To facilitate this very important task of training physicians and nurses, in the fall of 1944 and spring of 1945 Bonica wrote the first comprehensive monograph (nearly 300 pages) published on all aspects of anesthesiology in the United States and this was published privately under the sponsorship of the Surgeon General of the US army. With the additional physicians and nurses trained at Madigan, the surgical anesthesia program was well staffed and Bonica concentrated on teaching regional anesthesia which he felt was being neglected and in treating patients with severe painful injuries.
After a brief experience with these patients he began to realize that: a) there was little information about the treatment of patients with chronic pain problems, primarily because very little research had been done on clinical pain; b) the meager amount of knowledge was scattered in innumerable books and journals and thus unavailable to the average physician; c) that as a result of a) and b) and other factors, physicians were not taught the basic principles of managing such patients; and d) that complex pain problems required a vast amount of knowledge and experience, much more than possessed by any one individual. These considerations prompted him to: 1) begin a systematic clinical study of pain syndromes and their treatment; and 2) conceive and put into practice the idea that complex problems could be more effectively treated by a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary team, each member of which would contribute his or her specialized knowledge and skills to the common goal of making a correct diagnosis and developing the most therapeutic strategy. His experience during the War- also made him appreciate the significant advantages of regional anesthesia in properly selected patients and he became convinced that it should be used more frequently in surgical and obstetric patients as well as in diagnosis of pain and other nonsurgical diseases. On November 30, 1946, Bonica was discharged from military service with the rank of major and for his outstanding contribution to the war effort, not only at Madigan, but throughout the army, he received a commendation medal and other special recognitions by the Surgeon General of the US army.
Activities in Clinical Anesthesia
Bonica's work in the US army became widely known and he was offered a position in private practice from about a dozen leaders in California and the East Coast. However, he decided to accept the position as Chief of Anesthesia at Tacoma General Hospital and Pierce County Hospital in Tacoma, Washington, where h¢ began to work in February 1947. At the time he and Dr. Joseph Mattes of Swedish Hospital were the only two clinical anesthesiologists in private practice in the state. Because of the critical need for better anesthetic care, Bonica expended significant time and effort in improving clinical anesthesia, not only in Tacoma and the state of Washington, but also in the Northwest part of the United States.
Promptly after his appointment in Tacoma, he put the concept of the multidisciplinary pain management team into practice, continued to train anesthesiologists, and to do clinical research on pain, regional anesthesia, and obstetric anesthesia. By 1950 he and his colleagues had developed the best and most active clinical training program in anesthesiology in the Northwest and each year it attracted numerous applicants during the time that many other programs had to accept foreign medical graduates into their programs. In addition to these activities, Bonica became involved in organizational activities. In April 1947 he and Dr. Mattes founded the Washington State Society of Anesthesiologists (WSSA) and later in collaboration with a few anesthesiologists in British Columbia and Oregon, he helped to found the Northwest Society of Anesthesiologists (NWSA) and provided them with strong leadership in achieving their goals of establishing anesthesiology in the area. This culminated with his election to the presidency of both societies.
By 1950, he had accumulated enough clinical research data and experience to begin writing the 1,500 page book The Management Of Pain published in 1953, subsequently was translated into several languages and eventually became considered "the Bible" of pain diagnosis and therapy. The Tacoma General Hospital Department of Anesthesiology, of which Bonica was Director (as well as that of other Tacoma hospitals), acquired a national reputation as an outstanding medical center for teaching, clinical research and optimal patient care in anesthesiology. The Department was one of the first in the world to provide medical anesthesia service to obstetric patients on a 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week, 365 days-a-year basis with emphasis on continuous caudal and continuous epidural analgesia. Moreover, Bonica's Pain Clinic Program became an international referral center for patients with intractable pain. By 1960 Bonica and his associates had trained over 140 anesthesiologists, including more than half of those practicing in the state of Washington and others located in other parts of the United States and in some dozen countries.
In 1952 he began to become involved in the activities of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and during the ensuing 13 years he held many important posts, including the presidency of this organization in 1965. During his tenure, Bonica effected immense increases in the ASA professional activities and teaching by expanding markedly its medical student anesthesia preceptorship and set many innovative goals for the society. He appointed a new committee on Anesthesia Research, a new committee on Resuscitation and a number of other areas. Since that period, the ASA has achieved most of these goals and other innovative activities proposed by its subsequent presidents and became the predominant force which has vastly improved clinical anesthesia in the United States and many other countries. In 1990 the society had a total membership of over 30,000. The three Departments of Anesthesiology, of which he was Chairman (Madigan, Tacoma, University of Washington) during the period 1944-1990 have trained over 550 anesthesiologists including some 35% of those practicing in the state of Washington and others practicing in virtually every other part of the United States and in 43 countries.
During the nearly one-half century Bonica practiced anesthesiology and algology, he was invited as a visiting professor to give lectures and clinical demonstrations in 44 university medical centers and over 135 major medical centers not affiliated with universities in the United States.
Beginning in 1953, Bonica began to travel abroad, giving lectures and clinical demonstrations in university and nonuniversity medical centers emphasizing the importance of regional anesthesia, obstetric anesthesia, and the multidisciplinary approach to pain. During the aforementioned period of his active professional career, he was an invited visiting professor and lecturer and gave clinical demonstrations in 110 university medical schools and an equal number of nonuniversity medical centers in 72 countries on all seven continents. Moreover, he provided strong leadership in helping the development of clinical and academic anesthesiology in these various countries.
During the mid 1950s Bonica became interested in the then recently founded World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesioloists, composed of most national anesthesia societies then existing, and setting as its primary objective the improvement of anesthetic care for all of the peoples of the world. In 1960 he helped the ASA join the WFSA, and was promptly elected to the Executive Committee of the Federation, a position which he held for eight years. Subsequently, he became Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) which was concerned primarily with the education of anesthesiologists in developing countries. In 1965, Bonica formulated plans for the creation of the Latin American Anesthesiology Teaching Center in Caracas, Venezuela. He was the official consultant to the Minister of Health, and the President of the Central University in that country, and a year later the teaching center was founded as a resource for the development of future leaders of anesthesiology for countries in all of Latin America. Several years later, the Western Pacific Center for Anesthesiology Training was developed in Manila. In 1972, Bonica was elected Secretary-General of the WFSA, which is the key administrative office of the Federation. Together with the Executive Committee (of which he was a member) it was responsible for formulating new plans for the development of other teaching centers in Africa and other parts of the world. During this period, the Federation has grown significantly, and currently is composed of 92 national societies - virtually all of the national anesthesia organizations in the world - which have a membership of nearly 100,000 anesthesiologists. In 1980, Bonica was elected president of the WFSA at the VIIth World Congress held in Hamburg, Germany.
During the four years he was president of the WFSA, Bonica in collaboration with Professor Carlos Rivas, then Treasurer, and other leaders of the Federation, effected marked improvement in the financial status of the WFSA which permitted a number of educational activities including visiting professorships for periods varying from weeks to months. These educational efforts directed primarily to developing countries in Africa, Latin America, India and other Asian countries as well as a few Eastern European countries, made a very important favorable impact on the development of clinical anesthesia in many of these areas. In 1981-82 Bonica together with Professor Jean Lassner, then president of the European section of the WFSA, and John Zorab, WFSA Secretary, met with leaders of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva to co-sponsor the development of regional teaching centers in central Africa where clinical anesthesia was virtually nonexistent. Unfortunately, regional political consideration and policies impaired these efforts but the WFSA continued to send individual teachers. A very important and far-reaching event that took place during this visit to Geneva pertained to cancer pain. Bonica met with Dr. Jan Stjemsward, head of the Cancer Unit of WHO, and was able to convince him that the pain associated with cancer which heretofore had been neglected, was an important issue. This encounter prompted Dr. Stjemsward to become intensely interested in cancer-related pain and in collaboration with Bonica, formulated plans to have two major meetings, one in 1982 and the other in 1984. These were attended by leading physicians and health professionals from a number of countries throughout the world to formulate plans for a worldwide program to help patients with cancer-related pain. Subsequently, the guidelines developed by the committees were subjected to field trials in some dozen developing countries and these revealed that using the simple stepwise pharmacologic therapy administered by nonphysician personnel effectively relieved pain in 75 to 85 % of the patients. This was in stark contrast to the fact that in the past cancer pain was wholly neglected and consequently 80 to 85 % of patients with cancer-related pain during the terminal stage of the disease lived their last stages of life with persistent unrelieved pain. Bonica has repeatedly stated that his role in the development of this program constitutes one of the most important contributions he has made to medicine in general, and oncology in particular.
After being highly successful in helping the development of clinical anesthesia not only in the Northwest, but throughout the United States, in 1960 Bonica decided to leave a very lucrative private practice in Tacoma to accept the Chairmanship of the then newly created Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Washington in Seattle. At the time, the development of academic anesthesiology lagged far behind that of clinical anesthesia. One of his first achievements was the founding of the UW Multidisciplinary Pain Clinic which has become the model for the development of similar facilities throughout the world. He also continued to espouse his deep conviction that modern technology and scientific knowledge were so advanced so as to make multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary teams mandatory in order to carry out productive research as well as patient care in anesthesia and in pain. By 1967 he had recruited enough scientific manpower for the Department to compete successfully for a large grant which was awarded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences for the creation of the Anesthesia Research Center (ARC) at the University of Washington. This became one of five such facilities and for a decade served as a national and regional resource for anesthesia research. Its members acquired and published much new scientific information on fundamental biologic processes and new data which has improved the anesthetic care of surgical patients and of patients during childbirth; the intensive care of critically ill patients; and the management of patients with acute chronic pain problems. One of the eight sections of the ARC concerned itself with pain research and one of the teams in this section, headed by Dr. C.R. Chapman, has devoted most of its efforts to research on pain.
Under Bonica's leadership the department had a phenomenal growth. During the 18 years he was chairman, the growth of the department was as follows: faculty increased from 5 to 50; anesthesia trainees and fellows from 7 to 40; secretarial and administrative support personnel from 1 to 38; technical personnel for support of its research and clinical activities from 1 to 43. The amount of Departmental space increased from 900 square feet to 22,000 square feet; the Department's budget from $240,000 to nearly $5 million (of which nearly $2 million was used to support research). In addition to research productivity, the Department has contributed well trained faculty to other universities and its members have been heavily involved in providing leadership as officers of the Association of University Anesthetists and other academic associations and as consultants to the National Institutes of Health. In this and other ways the UW Department has contributed significantly to the development of academic anesthesiology and by the 1970s it was considered one of the top five academic anesthesiology programs in the United States. Bonica resigned as Chairman of the Department on December 31, 1977, in order to devote more time to the further development of pain research and therapy programs. In 1978 the University of Washington Multidisciplinary Pain Center was officially created with Bonica as Director.
Following an extensive national search, Dr. Thomas N. Hornbein, who had been Associate Chairman of the Department, was selected to assume the chairmanship. Under his outstanding and very vigorous leadership, the Department has had even greater phenomenal growth in both depth and breadth. Currently the department is composed of 85 faculty, 79 residents and fellows, 17 nursing staff, 17 technical and research personnel, and 26 administrative personnel. The growth in personnel has been paralleled by a growth in total budget which in 1991 was $14 million including $1 million for research. These and other achievements have now placed the Department at an even higher level nationally and internationally.
Activities in Research
Despite his heavy clinical commitments during the war, in Tacoma and in Seattle, Bonica has found time to carry out important investigation, primarily in human volunteers and patients, although he has participated and provided leadership in animal research. During the war he was the first to initiate a critical evaluation of tetracaine as a local anesthetic for regional anesthesia. He also developed a modified technique of supraclavicular brachial plexus block and a number of other regional anesthetic techniques. His study of patients with causalgia and other reflex sympathetic dystrophy provided the bases for formulation of hypotheses of mechanisms and therapy and developed a new taxonomy on these conditions. In Tacoma he continued an extended number of these studies and also studied the physiologic effects of endotracheal and endobronchial anesthesia in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis, developed additional techniques of regional anesthesia and initiated long-term study of the neural pathways for the pain of childbirth.
In recognition of his contributions to the application of regional anesthesia for a variety of operations in severely injured patients, he was awarded a very large grant for further research by The Research and Development Command of the US Army. Promptly after assumption of the Chairmanship of Anesthesiology at the University of Washington, he continued studies of the physiologic effects of the shunt created by endobronchial anesthesia, continued his studies of the neural pathways of parturition pain and initiated and continued a series of investigations in human volunteers and patients on the effects of various regional techniques. Over the course of 8 years he and colleagues carried out 41 different studies on the hemodynamic, respiratory, renal, hepatic and other functions produced by various regional techniques. These studies produced the most comprehensive information on the effects of these procedures in comparison to general anesthesia. He also participated in a large series of studies pertaining to gravidae, parturients, and the fetus and newborn, and continued to carry out clinical studies on patients with pain.
Activities Related to Pain Research and Treatment
In addition to his clinical and laboratory pain research in the ARC, Bonica has repeatedly and persistently emphasized through his publications and presentations to the senior staff of the NIH and other national agencies, the importance of pain research with special emphasis on multidisciplinary team approach and also the need for much better dissemination of new and old scientific information on pain. In the early 1950s he began to develop the idea of founding a multidisciplinary pain research and therapy society and a journal on pain. Two decades later he began to realize these objectives. In early 1972 he was asked by the Deputy Directory of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to organize an International Symposium on Pain which was to be sponsored by the Institute along the same lines as its previously held and highly successful symposia on trauma and burn. Because of his intensive interest and the backing of the NIH, Bonica developed a very comprehensive six and one-half day program and invited the very best scientists/clinicians to speak on each of the many aspects of pain. Despite the fact that as a result of drastic reductions in its budget NIGMS was able to support only a small portion of the program, Bonica was able to generate sufficient funds from the University of Washington and a number of pharmaceutical and industrial firms to proceed. The symposium attracted over 350 scientists and health professionals from 13 countries who represented most of the basic science and clinical disciplines. In addition to being the most comprehensive and successful multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary meeting on pain, Bonica used the symposium as an occasion to suggest the founding of an international association devoted to the study of pain and pain mechanisms and the founding of an international multidisciplinary journal. These two suggestions were enthusiastically endorsed.
The following year the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) was officially founded for the purpose of fostering and encouraging research on pain mechanisms and pain syndromes and to help improve the management of pain in patients with acute and chronic pain by bringing together basic scientists, physicians, and other health professionals. By 1991 IASP has grown to a membership of about 5,000 persons representing every biomedical science, clinical discipline, and health profession in 54 countries. The journal PAIN, sponsored by IASP and first published in 1975, has acquired a reputation as a prestigious interdisciplinary publication which helps disseminate original and review articles and provide other types of information.
The IASP has also sponsored six World Congresses and with each subsequent congress an ever increasing number of scientists/clinicians have attended to participate and listen to very high quality scientific and clinical reports. Through the scientific programs of these congresses, the publication of PAIN and the proceedings of the six Congresses, IASP has done much to enhance the diffusion of scientific and clinically relevant information of multidisciplinary interests and has further improved communication. Bonica also helped found the American Pain Society (the USA chapter of IASP). This and 39 other national chapters have had a definite impact on improving communication on pain research and therapy at regional and national levels. On the basis of his contributions to the IASP, he has been given the title of FOUNDER AND HONORARY PRESIDENT, the IASP has developed a Distinguished Lecture given during each congress and more recently it has established a number of fellowships in his name.
Bonica's other activities relevant to anesthesiology, obstetrics and pain, particularly those related to the National Institutes of Health of the United States and other international agencies including the World Health Organization are listed in his curriculum vitae and need not be repeated here. He also has been official consultant to the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Sweden, Japan, Venezuela, and Germany to advise them on the development of pain clinics and pain research programs as well as anesthesiology.
Bonica has written and edited 41 books, has been a collaborator and contributor to 60 other books, and has written 274 scientific articles, two- thirds of which have been devoted to pain research and therapy, including acupuncture.
For these and other professional and academic activities Bonica has received many honors from many parts of the world. He was the first foreign physician in the last 250 years to receive the honorary degree of Doctor of Medical Science (honoris causa) by the University of Siena, Italy. He also has received a Doctor of Science degree from Northwestern University, the Silver Medal by the Swedish Medical Society, the Gold Medal for Neuroscience from the German Neurophysiologic Society, and the Gold Medal from the Italian Algologists. He was elected Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Anaesthetists of the Royal College of Surgeons, a group which is chaired by Princess Alexandra and limited to 20 members worldwide. In 1967 he was made Commander and two years later, Grand Officer of the Knights of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy - the latter being the highest award given by the President of the Republic to foreign nationals. More recently, he was made Hereditary Knight in the Noble Order of Cingolo Militare at the rank of Baronet by Prince Cesare d'Altavilla/Napoli/Sicilia, who is direct descendant of the Norman kings of Sicily and Naples. It is to be noted that this is the oldest and very prestigious order first created in 1085 A.D.
In 1990 he was honored by Pope John Paul II for his contribution to improve the welfare of people worldwide and the Pope requested a copy of the second edition of the two-volume The Management Of Pain published in 1990 and which rests in his private library. The most important and prestigious of the honors was the establishment by the University of Washington of the JOHN AND EMMA BONICA ENDOWED CHAIR FOR ANESTHESIOLOGY AND PAIN RESEARCH. Because this is one of the few such endowed chairs established by the University of Washington and will remain in perpetuity, it represents a very special manner by which the University recognizes the outstanding contribution, not only of Professor Bonica, but his wife Emma who has played a critical role in all of the professional and academic activities he has participated in.
Dr. Bonica's contributions to anesthesiology and pain have been reported in several thousand newspapers published in the countries he has visited as well as in the United States. The University of Washington Pain Center has been the subject of major documentary by the National Broadcasting Company, Columbia Broadcasting Company, and American Broadcasting Company. Both the clinic and Bonica's work have been the subject of feature articles in the weekly magazines TIME, NEWSWEEK, US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, and REALITES, the prestigious French magazine. In the cover article on pain, TIME magazine called Bonica the "founding father of pain research and treatment."