Meet the Executive Program Director

Welcome to the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve University.

Case Western Reserve University has a long tradition of excellence and innovation in certified anesthesiologist assistant education. Now more than ever opportunities abound for anesthetists. Technological advances, changing economic patterns, healthcare reform, and a more diverse patient population have made our healthcare system progressively complex, and have consequently created a demand for highly-trained anesthetists like never before.

Graduates of the MSA Program at CWRU are leaders in the profession because of the strong educational foundation that they build in our program and the appreciation for advocacy that is instilled in them. As an alumnus myself, I can tell you that our outstanding faculty and environment result in superior education. We are leaders in the community, the nation, and across the globe.

At all of our program locations, students have access to state-of-the-art educational resources, including interactive classrooms equipped with the latest technology, electronic journals, and a robust simulation program that features high-fidelity patient simulators. We have intentionally structured our curriculum so that didactic coursework, simulation labs, and clinical rotations work in tandem to allow students the opportunity to master theories in the classroom and in practice before applying them to actual patient care. Simultaneously our students learn the principles of routine clinical practice and crisis management. CWRU MSA graduates aren’t just expert anesthetists—they’re confident, empathetic healthcare providers.

Our horizontally-integrated physiologic and pharmacologic curricula emphasize themes of scholarship, professionalism, and leadership upon matriculation and are taught in parallel with the basic sciences that underpin anesthesia practice. In addition, we are proud to offer a vigorous clinical training environment, which gives our students experience with diverse patient populations and the opportunity to rotate at some of the major teaching hospitals in the United States.

Most importantly, we stress that students own their education and be responsible for individual learning, which fosters lifelong learning and equips them with the tools to be critical thinkers, listeners, and esteemed professionals.

Our greatest asset is our dedicated didactic and clinical faculty, who are not only accomplished anesthetists and physicians in their own right, but who are also continuously evaluating and improving our curriculum to ensure our students have rigorous and rewarding learning experiences.

Our goal at CWRU is to train the best anesthetists in the world. I’m proud to say we accomplish this goal each year, as exemplified by our graduates who are expert practitioners and who care for patients with compassion and creativity in a setting that fosters leadership, excellence, and collaboration. They exemplify—in their practice, their advocacy, and their work beyond the operating room—our commitment to lifelong learning, understanding, and empathy.

Whatever your reason for visiting our website today, I hope you will take a moment to explore. From educational innovations built on our history to our ongoing dedication to remain the best in didactic and clinical learning opportunities, the Master of Science in Anesthesia Program at Case Western Reserve University is a place where we think beyond the possible every day.

Joseph M. Rifici


‌Joseph M. Rifici, CAA, M.Ed.

Executive Program Director
Master of Science in Anesthesia Program
Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine