Jodi Sherman, MD

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology; Environmental Compliance Officer; Affiliated Faculty, Climate Change and Health Initiative, School of Public Health

Research Departments & Organizations

Anesthesiology

Faculty Research

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

Carbon Footprint; Chemicals and Drugs; Conservation of Natural Resources; Drug Contamination; Ecosystem; Environment Design; Environment, Controlled; Environmental Medicine; Environmental Policy; Environmental Pollution; Equipment Reuse; Fresh Water; Greenhouse Effect; Health Care; Patient Harm; Public Health; Soil

Research Summary

Patient safety is the core value of anesthesiology. We have made substantial progress through drug development, medical device innovation, and through physiologic monitoring. Anesthesiologists have been leaders in environmental safety, as well. We have developed standards to prevent hospital acquired infections, as well as occupational exposure, through proper use of personal protective gear, cleaning and decontamination protocols, and waste disposal methods. This progress in individual patient safety has resulted in a culture of wasteful practices in health care, causing pollution and indirect harm to public health. It has become my life’s work to quantify waste and the environmental impacts of health care practice to strategically guide pollution prevention, and thereby increase the safety profile of clinical practice.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the cornerstone science to evaluate the pollution generated by health care, through systematically and objectively quantifying the environmental impacts of our anesthesia drugs and devices, and clinical care pathways. One of my most important works with Dr. Matthew Eckelman, PhD of Northeastern University Department of Environmental Engineering is an LCA of 5 common anesthetic drugs. Our results demonstrated that between inhaled anesthetics, desflurane and N2O were 20x worse atmospheric pollutants than sevoflurane or isoflurane. Between approaches to general anesthesia, inhaled anesthetics were 40,000 times worse atmospheric pollutants than intravenous propofol. Based on our results, the National Health Service recently reported inhaled anesthetics account for 2.5% of England’s health sector’s greenhouse gases (GHGs), making inhaled anesthetic management a focal part of a strategic pollution prevention plan.

The anesthesiologists mission is to provide the safest care possible throughout the perioperative period. It has become my life’s work to broaden the physician’s duty of ‘first do no harm’ to include the community and future generations. Resource conservation is not part of the clinical mindset, but it ought to be. While clinical conditions must dictate clinical care, waste reduction is a simple means to reduce pollution and conserve healthcare resources without altering patient safety. Resource conservation plays a synergistic role in achieving the triple aim of health care of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, namely better care for individuals, better care for populations, and reducing per-capita costs. Reducing health care waste, associated costs and emissions should be considered a key aspect of building a safer health system to improve health care quality and efficiency and reduce unintended adverse effects, both direct and indirect.

Extensive Research Description

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is the cornerstone science to evaluate the pollution generated by health care, through systematically and objectively quantifying the environmental impacts of our anesthesia drugs and devices, and clinical care pathways. One of my most important works is an LCA of 5 common anesthetic drugs. Our results demonstrated that between inhaled anesthetics, desflurane and N2O were 20x worse atmospheric pollutants than sevoflurane or isoflurane. Between approaches to general anesthesia, inhaled anesthetics were 40,000 times worse atmospheric pollutants than intravenous propofol. Based on our results, the National Health Service recently reported inhaled anesthetics account for 2.5% of England’s health sector’s greenhouse gases (GHGs), making inhaled anesthetic management a focal part of a strategic pollution prevention plan.

The anesthesiologists mission is to provide the safest care possible throughout the perioperative period. It has become my life’s work to broaden the physician’s duty of ‘first do no harm’ to include the community and future generations. Resource conservation is not part of the clinical mindset, but it ought to be. While clinical conditions must dictate clinical care, waste reduction is a simple means to reduce pollution and conserve healthcare resources without altering patient safety. Resource conservation plays a synergistic role in achieving the triple aim of health care of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, namely better care for individuals, better care for populations, and reducing per-capita costs. Reducing health care waste, associated costs and emissions should be considered a key aspect of building a safer health system to improve health care quality and efficiency and reduce unintended adverse effects, both direct and indirect.

Selected Publications

See list of PubMed publications

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Contact Info

Jodi Sherman, MD
Mailing Address
333 Cedar Street
New Haven, CT 06520

Curriculum Vitae