In 1966, a group of physicians, including Dr. Hamilton S. Davis, founded the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Davis was given the additional responsibility of establishing the Department of Anesthesiology and appointed as its first departmental Chair. He served as Chair until his retirement in 1982. From 1982 until his death, Dr. Davis active member of the department, providing clinical services and continuing his research.

Dr. John H. Eisele, Jr. succeeded Dr. Davis as chair of the department in 1983. Under Dr. Eisele, the Department of Anesthesiology established the Pain Management Clinic at the UC Davis Medical Center to provide services to patients suffering from chronic and acute pain. In conjunction with implementing the Pain Management Clinic, the department established its pain management fellowship-training program. Dr. Eisele stepped down as Chair in 1992 and served as director of the Pain Management Clinic until 1994. He retired in 1994; however, he continues to see patients in  the Pain Management Clinic.

Upon Dr. Eisele’s retirement as chair, Dr. Dennis L. Fung served as chair from 1992-1993 and Dr. Gerald A. Gronert from 1993-1994. Drs. Fung and Gronert continued to emphasize the academic mission of the department.

Dr. Carol L. Lake was appointed Chair of the department in 1994. Dr. Lake presided over the strengthening of the residency program, developing the pain management clinic into a stand-alone facility and revising the departmental research programs. Most citizens of the Sacramento Valley receive their health care through an HMO and Dr. Lake successfully combined the academic missions and goals of the department within the parameters of the HMO health care plans.

In 1995, Dr. Lake left to pursue her Masters of Business Administration. Dr. Peter Moore served as Acting Chair until 1996, and was appointed as permanent Chair of the department the same year. Under Dr. Moore, the department continued its commitment to the academic mission of the university and embracing new technological advances and methodologies in teaching. Didactic teaching methods combined with the problem based leaning method, provided residents with unique opportunities for participatory learning. Residents were given the responsibility for planning case conferences and play an active role in journal club.

In 1999, in recognition of the contributions and support of Drs. Davis and Eisele, the name of the department was changed to “The Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine” and the Division of Pain Medicine was established.  Dr. Scott M. Fishman was appointed to serve as the first Director and continues in that role today.

In 2015, Dr. Peter Moore retired after serving as department Chair for more than 20 years. Dr. Moore is continuing to provide clinical patient care.    His research is focusing on advancing patient safety and on using telemedicine to improve health and reduce surgical risk, both in rural communities and developing countries through global health partnerships.

During his tenure, Dr. Moore expanded research and educational programs, and clinical practice. He founded the UC Davis Center for Virtual Care, adopting developments in information technology and virtual reality to establish a rich learning environment furthering knowledge, concepts and clinical decision-making in perioperative care. Dr. Moore also established a total quality management program for surgical patients in 1995, adopting evidence-based medicine protocols to improve patient outcomes and efficiencies of care for patients.

In 2016, Dr. Richard L. Applegate II, assumed the position as Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine.  Prior to his appointment, Dr. Applegate was Vice Chair of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology.  He held secondary appointments in the Department of Basic Science and the School of Nursing.  Dr. Applegate’s research interests span basic science and clinical care, with a focus on cardiovascular physiology, control of circulation, and physiologic monitoring during high-risk surgeries or in high-risk patients to prevent complications.