THE recipient of this year’s James E. Cottrell, M.D., Presidential Scholar Award is Brian Bateman, M.D., Chief of the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts) and Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts). What a well-deserved honor for a superb clinician–scientist whose work has already improved how we care for women during and after delivery. I am particularly honored to write this piece about Brian, as our careers have overlapped during our time as fellow faculty members together at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts) and now at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We have spent more than just a minute or two thinking about how to answer perplexing research questions and then hammering away at the work to create and publish new insights.
Brian received a bachelor of arts degree, with honors, from Yale College (New Haven, Connecticut) and a doctor of medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York, New York). At Columbia, he was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and was awarded the Janeway Prize for the graduating student with the highest achievement and abilities. After medical school, Brian completed internship in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was selected as Chief Resident. Brian joined the faculty of Massachusetts General Hospital in 2011 and, in March 2017, moved three miles across Boston to Brigham and Women’s Hospital to become the Chief of the Division of Obstetric Anesthesia.
For the past 7 yr, Brian has also been a member of the research team in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. There he has worked particularly closely with the epidemiologists Krista F. G. Huybrechts, M.Sc., S.C.D., and Sonia Hernandez-Diaz, M.D., Dr.P.H., in the areas of pharmacoepidemiology in pregnancy and the epidemiology of pregnancy-related complications. Together they founded the Harvard Program on Perinatal and Pediatric Pharmacoepidemiology (H4P, http://www.harvardpreg.org). Working with this group, Brian has published extensively on the effects of opioid use in pregnancy, the safety of cardiovascular medications in pregnancy, predictors of severe maternal morbidity and mortality, and medication safety in the perioperative period. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, many of them as first or senior author. These have been published in leading journals including BMJ, JAMA, NEJM, JAMA Psychiatry, JAMA Pediatrics, JAMA Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Some highlights of Brian’s work as first or senior author, all published with accompanying editorials, include: the largest study to date assessing the risks associated with statin use during pregnancy,1 the first description of nationwide patterns of prescription opioid use during pregnancy in the United States,2 the establishment of a genetic liability to postpartum hemorrhage,3 the demonstration of a link between in utero β-blocker exposure and an increase in the risk of neonatal hypoglycemia,4 the refutation of a previously postulated link between induction of labor and autism,5 the derivation of a risk score for severe maternal morbidity that is now an externally validated and accepted method for risk adjustment in epidemiologic/health services studies,6,7 and the development of a shared decision-making approach to opioid prescribing after cesarean delivery to reduce excessive prescribing.8 His work is already changing practice. The use of shared decision-making for postpartum opioid prescribing that his research team described was one of the key recommendations in the recently released postpartum pain management guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Brian and his colleagues in the Harvard Program on Perinatal and Pediatric Pharmacoepidemiology have demonstrated much success in attracting federal funding. Brian was the principal investigator for a K08 grant funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Bethesda, Maryland) focused on evaluating the safety of antihypertensive medication use during pregnancy. He is now the principal investigator of an R01 from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, Maryland) that aims to evaluate safety concerns related to prescription opioid use during pregnancy, an area where he and his colleagues have been very active during the past few years.2,8–13 Brian is also a co-principal investigator on a contract awarded to the group from the Food and Drug Administration (Silver Spring, Maryland) to develop methods to facilitate the use of nationwide Medicaid data to study drug safety in pregnancy. Further, he is co-investigator on an R03 and an R21 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and an R01 from the National Institute of Mental Health (Bethesda, Maryland) that were awarded to this research group for studies of medication safety in pregnancy.
With Drs. Huybrechts and Hernandez-Diaz, Brian was a founding member of the International Pregnancy Safety Study Consortium, which is a collaborative effort between investigators from the United States and each of the five Nordic countries to pool data for studies evaluating the safety of medications in pregnancy.14 This international collaboration promises to play an important role in the study and our resultant understanding of the safety of drugs used during pregnancy.
Brian has visible and significant service roles at a national level. Brian serves as a voting member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee. He has also been a member on expert panels for the Department of Health and Human Services (Washington, D.C.), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Georgia), the Food and Drug Administration (Washington, D.C.), and the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland), and he has served as an expert reviewer for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Rockville, Maryland). He has served on multiple review panels at the National Institutes of Health and at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Washington, D.C.). During the recent revision of the Joint Commission’s pain management standards, Brian served as a technical consultant. For the past 4 yr, Brian has served as an Associate Editor of Anesthesiology, for which he has completed more than 200 reviews, and as an ad hoc reviewer for 30 other journals including NEJM, BMJ, and Circulation. Within the specialty, Brian has been very active in the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and currently sits on its Board of Directors. In 2017, Brian was selected as the Gerard Ostheimer Lecturer by the Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, which honors “a leading clinician, research scientist, and/or educator who has made significant contributions to the field of obstetric anesthesia.” The Ostheimer award is particularly fitting, as Dr. Ostheimer was one of the founding fathers of obstetric anesthesia and a long-time faculty member at Brigham and Women’s before his untimely death in 1995. Brian was recently selected as an editor for the upcoming 6th edition of Chestnut’s Obstetric Anesthesiology, the most prominent textbook in the field.
Brian’s area of clinical expertise is obstetric anesthesia, and since March 2017 he has led the Brigham and Women’s Division of Obstetric Anesthesia, a group of 15 subspecialists who together train 5 fellows each year. During the first year of his tenure, in close collaboration with the Chief of Obstetrics, Brian helped introduce several innovative practice improvement initiatives including risk stratification using a comorbidity index and the elimination of the routine use of oral opioids after cesarean delivery. He has quickly moved in to the role of senior mentor by helping junior faculty apply for grants, initiate research, and gain administrative roles and responsibilities. Brian is husband to Stephanie White-Bateman, a psychiatrist at McLean Hospital (Belmont, Massachusetts), and the father to twin 13-yr-old boys, Christian and Graham.
Having the chance to mentor (a little) and to learn (a lot) from Brian here at Brigham and Women’s and Harvard Medical School—well, for me it has been a dream come true. This is why I enjoy academic medicine so enormously. It keeps me right here where I can watch extraordinary people like Brian grow to their full potential. We should all be honored to have this talented clinician–scientist as a colleague and friend and to have someone making such a global impact on patient care as a member of our own specialty.
The author declares no competing interests.