18th World Congress of Anaesthesiologists (WCA2024)


Harold Griffith Lecture

Tuesday 5 March 2024
10:15 AM-11:30 AM

The 2024 Harold Griffith Lecturers will share their experience and perspectives on quality and risk.

Dr Mellin-Olsen is a Norwegian anaesthesiologist who has had a huge influence on anaesthesiology worldwide. 

She served as President of the WFSA from 2018-2020 and has also been President of the European Board of Anaesthesiology. 

Dr Mellin-Olsen played a key role in developing and launching the landmark Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology. In 2021, she was appointed to the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav – the highest civilian honour available in Norway – for her services to healthcare.

Kevin is a Consultant Anaesthetist who has worked as a doctor with NASA and currently flies as part of a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) crew in the UK alongside his position as National Clinical Advisor in Emergency Preparedness Resilience and Response.

His expertise lies in understanding teamwork, risk management and decision making under extreme pressure. Having worked with NASA’s human space flight programme in Houston, Kevin has a unique perspective on science, technology, exploration and the limits of the human body which he has brought to life in his incredible talks inspiring a global audience including on television with programmes such as ‘Space Shuttle: The Final Mission’, ‘Extreme A&E’ and ‘How to Avoid Mistakes in Surgery’ and radio documentaries including ‘Trauma Medicine: The Fight For Life’ on BBC Radio 4.

In 2013 Kevin’s book ‘Extremes: How Far Can You Go To Save A Life?’ was released, demonstrating the impact of extremes on the human body by using his own body as a guinea pig. This went on to win an American Association for the Advancement of Science Award in 2015. He was awarded an OBE in 2019 for his services to science, medicine and healthcare as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honour.

The Harold Griffith Lecture is the only named plenary at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists. It honours the first President of the WFSA, Dr Harold Griffith from Canada who served from the first WCA held in the Netherlands in 1955 to 1960. Previous Harold Griffith lecturers have included Christina Maslach and Edna Adan Ismail (2021, virtual); Tore Laerdal and Atul Gawande (2016, Hong Kong).

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    Harold Griffith Lecture

Harold Randall Griffith was born in Montreal in 1894 and died in 1985. He interrupted his medical studies to serve in the first world war and was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry at the battle of Vimy Ridge. Griffith qualified from McGill University in 1922. After spending a year studying homoeopathic medicine, he joined his father’s general practice and became the anaesthetist to the Homoeopathic Hospital in Montreal. He succeeded his father as Medical Director of the hospital (now renamed the Queen Elizabeth Hospital) in 1936 and retired in 1966. 

Griffith was a superb clinical anaesthetist. He was an early advocate of detailed anaesthetic records, and was responsible for the introduction of both ethylene and cyclopropane into Canadian practice, later teaching himself to intubate under these two agents. Griffith was one of the first to be concerned with standards of patient care. He introduced postoperative recovery and intensive care units into Canadian practice and played a major role in postgraduate teaching. He was unstinting in his support of organisations designed to further the progress of anaesthesia and was the first President of the Canadian Anaesthetist’s Society. 

He was one of those responsible for inaugurating the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiology and was President of the First World Congress of Anaesthesiology in 1955.


WCA2024 will offer a range of workshops throughout the conference. Click below for more information.


Participate in problem based learning discussions with peers and leading experts in the field. 


See what’s in store for you at WCA2024. Our Scientific Programme is now available for download.