Rafael A. Ortega, MD

Rafael Ortega
Department of Anesthesiology
88 E. Newton

Biographical Sketch:
I am a native of the Dominican Republic and a graduate of the UNPHU in Santo Domingo. I consider myself Hispanic or Latino. I trained in anesthesiology at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center in the early 1980s. I am a Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice-chairman for Academic Affairs in the Department of Anesthesiology at Boston University School of Medicine.

I am board-certified in anesthesiology and transesophageal echocardiography. My interests include cardiac anesthesia, computer-assisted instruction, and education in anesthesiology. I have served in various committees with American Society of Anesthesiologists, Massachusetts Society of Anesthesiologists, and the Wood Library Museum.

As a teenager, I spent one year living with an African-American family in North Carolina, where I learned how to speak English.  I have always been fascinated by different cultures and religions and consider myself well-read in these subjects.  I have had an interest in diversity-related issues since my arrival at Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center when Marcelle Willock, MD was the first minority woman chairing a clinical academic department in the United States.  My involvement with EMSSP dates back to the days of Dr. Kenneth Edelin and intensified during Dr. Jonathan Woodson’s tenure as director of the program.  I have mentored numerous minority students, several of whom  have become anesthesiologists.

Outlook on Diversity:
As Associate Dean of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, I am responsible for fostering diversity and cultural competence among students, faculty, and staff.  The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs includes four Assistant Deans.  I cannot think of a better team to address the many challenges we face to make our institution as heterogeneous and inclusive as possible. It is my belief that while each one of us may belong to a particular group in the realm of diversity, it is of paramount importance for us to be examples of unquestionable openness and inclusion.  Thus, we look forward to participating in all activities, promoting relations among all groups and inspiring our students and faculty to learn from each other while appreciating our differences.

Academic Interests:
I have published a variety of papers, book chapters, and multimedia programs in a broad range of topics including airway management, operating room hazards, and the history of anesthesiology. In 2006, I published the book Written in Granite and spearheaded the restoration of the Ether Monument in the Boston Public Garden. With the proceeds from this book, a maintenance fund was created to assure the monument’s continuing preservation. My most recent work includes the publication of clinical procedure videos in New England Journal of Medicine and a multilingual instructional program for the World Health Organization’s Global Pulse Oximetry Project.  Many of my published works have included BU medical students as co-authors.

Extracurricular Interests:
I am an amateur photographer.  I have several Canon digital SLRs, and I use them both for work and enjoyment.  I am a frustrated musician.  I was given all of the passion for music and none of the talent.  However, through resolute determination, I have learned how to play the guitar and the harmonica.  The Blues are one of my favorite genres, but I also love Reggae, Rock, Jazz, and of course Latin music.  On Sunday mornings, you can find me at the Bakst Auditorium jamming with the BUMC Band.  I ride mountain bikes and in my younger days was an avid surfer and windsurfer.  I often go back to the Dominican Republic where I continue to enjoy the sea sailing on a Laser II.  I am married to a nurse, and we have four children, three boys and one girl.