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Richard Henker

Nurse Anesthesia


My research activities focus on risk factors for the development of opioid induced side effects in postoperative patients. Of specific interest are genotypes that affect post operative pain responses, development of persistent postoperative pain, opioid induced respiratory depression, opioid induced sedation, and postoperative nausea and vomiting. Other areas of research include 1) evaluation of simulation teaching methods including team performance, and 2) temperature measurement during the perioperative period.

Clinical Emphasis

Currently I conduct my faculty practice at UPMC-Presbyterian as a nurse anesthetist. I also provide anesthesia care at Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan.


I currently teach undergraduate, masters, DNP and PhD students. I have taught pathophysiology for undergraduates and graduate students in a variety of capacities since 1994. I have been involved in teaching research since 2005. My teaching includes the use of high fidelity simulation to reinforce lecture content provided in the Applied Physiology and Pathophysiology course I teach for the nurse anesthesia students.

I am a clinical preceptor for nurse anesthesia students at UPMC-Presbyterian, Angkor Hospital for Children, and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital. Harbin Medical University appointed me as as a Visiting Professor in 2010 and I have been appointed as visiting faculty at Boromarajonani College of Nursing at Nakon Phanom University in Thailand for the spring of 2014. I have provided lectures at eight universities in Japan including Kitasato University, Kyoto University, Jikei University, Kobe City College, Osaka Dental University, Asahikawa Medical University, Sapporo City University, and The Open University of Japan. I have also lectured at the following international hospitals: Karl Heusner in Belize City, Belize, the National Pediatric Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok Thailand, Tokyo Bay Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, and Kyoto University Hospital in Kyoto Japan.

I received the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998 and the Chancellors Distinguished Teaching Award in 2006.


I am a member of the American Nurses Association Committee on Nursing Practice Standards and Guidelines. I am also the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for the Nurse Anesthesia Overseas section of Health Volunteers Overseas, and I am the Program Director for the Cambodia and Bhutan Nurse Anesthesia Overseas sites. I am a site reviewer for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.