Dollar, Edwards Receive Outstanding Achievement Award

Stace Dollar, MS, CRNA, and John Edwards, III, MS, CRNA, were the 2019 recipients of the Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) Fellowship “Outstanding Achievement Award,” presented at Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia’s Commencement ceremony last November.

PHOTO: “Outstanding Achievement Award” winners John Edwards, III, MS, CRNA (left), and Stace Dollar, MS, CRNA (right), pictured with Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) Fellowship.

Edwards and Dollar are CRNAs at Baptist Health Lexington in Kentucky, where they co-founded and co-direct an Acute Pain Service. They are also faculty for MTSA’s ASPM Fellowship.

“Since entering the Fellowship, John and Stace have achieved the criteria for this award by doing outstanding work in the field of acute pain management,” said Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the Fellowship, during the award presentation. “They are staunch advocates in reducing persistent opioid use among the surgical patient population. Both have led hospital-based projects that have dramatically reduced perioperative opioid use and reduced postoperative opioid prescribing practices by surgeons at their hospital facility.”

Johnson also highlighted other achievements by Edwards and Dollar, which included their work as co-founders of Thoroughbred Anesthesia Academy, co-investigators on two recent research studies related to the enhanced recovery after surgery for breast cancer patients, and facilitators of a safe opioid-disposal system implemented by Baptist Health Lexington.

“I am surprised and thankful to receive the Fellowship award from MTSA/AANA,” Dollar said. “It is an honor to be selected along with my great friend and colleague John Edwards. Completing the Fellowship has given me the knowledge to provide better pain management for our patients.”

“I was honored to receive the award alongside Stace,” Edwards said. “Acute surgical pain management is our passion, and it’s become integrated with our life.

“In the development process of the acute pain service at Baptist Health Lexington six years ago, we were doing about 800 nerve blocks per year. As we’ve grown and applied the principle of acute surgical pain management that we learned in the Fellowship, we now are a service that this year will provide nearly 4,500 nerve blocks, over half of which include the usage of catheters to prolong the pain management beyond discharge from the hospital,” Edwards added.

Dollar said he has seen CRNAs become more involved with regional anesthesia and pain management over the last 10 years: “Being at a facility that provides over 4,500 nerve blocks a year, it takes a team effort to make sure that pain is well managed.”

In addition, Dollar complimented MTSA’s ASPM Fellowship, saying it’s “an excellent program and continues to improve on a daily basis. It is impressive to watch Dr. Bill Johnson continue to make these improvements and grow the program. It has grown from a few applicants for 12 Fellowship positions to requiring interviews for the available vacancies. He keeps all the current and past fellows involved through discussion boards with the latest articles.”

In conjunction with Baptist Health Lexington’s Acute Pain Service, Edwards and Dollar have been instrumental in a project to provide each surgical patient who is being discharged from the facility with an educational brochure about the safe use of opioids and an at-home disposal kit to safely dispose of any unused opioids.

About the Outstanding Achievement Award

Recipients are selected by MTSA and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award, which includes a $1,000 cash prize. The award is based on a Fellow’s ability to:

  • contribute to the clinical expertise and scholarship in acute pain management;
  • advance the scope of nurse anesthesia practice;
  • develop innovative acute surgical pain management approaches that contribute to safe and effective patient care;
  • inspire other nurse anesthesia providers in the profession;
  • interact collegially with all health care providers to positively impact the image of nurse anesthesia; and
  • participate in community affairs, legislation and organizations that affect and advance nurse anesthesia practice.

Dollar and Edwards have donated the $1,000 to the Baptist Health Lexington Foundation’s Opioid Stewardship Initiative, which not only helps provide education about the safe use of prescribed opioids but also funds opioid disposal packets that allow for the safe disposal of unused opioids after a surgical procedure. The initiative helps to reduce the amount of unused opioids that remain in medicine cabinets that can be misused or diverted into the community.

Both were recently honored at MTSA’s Mission and Awards Gala. Edwards was the 2019 recipient of the Nevin Downs, MD Leadership Award. In 2018, Dollar received the Mary Elizabeth DeVasher Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

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President’s Message: Building Momentum for 2020

Chris Hulin

We have much to celebrate and be thankful for as we usher in the New Year. I’d like to share some of the important moments from 2019 in which the MTSA community has helped further our mission and augment the nurse anesthesia profession in profound ways. I look forward to building on this momentum as we enter 2020!

  • Keeping the working CRNA in mind, we shifted some of our curriculum from the classroom to an online format. In the case of our Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) Completion Degree, the program is now offered completely online.
  • Several members of our faculty presented at the AANA Annual Congress, showcasing a range of research findings that expands the body of knowledge in nurse anesthesia and produces evidence-based scholarship.
  • One of our Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellows, U.S. Army Major Robert Fabich, DNP, CRNA, leveraged his war-zone experience and developed two case studies, with the help of several colleagues, that were published in Military Medicine.
  • Our Alumni Association and Board of Trustees launched the Professional Development Grant Program designed to aid, fund, and support MTSA students, workshop attendees, and alumni anesthesia practitioners. The program is targeted toward the working CRNA alumni to advance skill and knowledge in patient care.
  • We continue to deepen our ties with the nurse anesthesia program at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation in Guyana. We welcomed several students to campus and continue to be involved in teaching classes, running simulations and conducting licensing board review at their facility.

All these efforts – and so many more – are only possible with the generous support of our alumni, staff, faculty and colleagues. I’d like to offer my deepest gratitude to everyone who continues to support MTSA’s mission in our community and throughout the world. May you and your family have a blessed and prosperous 2020!

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Service in Action: Mission Against Hunger

MTSA students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends celebrate a job well-done after assembling food packages during the Mission Against Hunger service project.

As the holidays approached last November, MTSA students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends volunteered to assemble food packages for distribution to underserved communities, in partnership with Rise Against Hunger.

The event was held on campus at P.T. Magan Hall where volunteers gathered around tables filled with rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix that included vitamins and minerals and assembled them into 25,000 small meal packages which were shipped around the world to support school feeding programs and crisis relief.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who came to the event and participated directly,” said MTSA President Chris Hulin. “A major focus of our mission is service to others, and it’s truly inspiring to see how the MTSA community comes together and gives of their time and resources to help others – especially during the busy holiday season.”

According to Rise Against Hunger, $5 covers the cost of 15 meals, and for $75, a child can be fed for a year. With contributions from MTSA’s anonymous donor, Hulin pointed out that those outcomes can be doubled—30 meals for $5, or two children fed for a year for $75.

Rise Against Hunger’s mission is to “end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable and creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources.” Its meal packaging volunteers produce millions of nutritious meals annually that are then distributed to partners in countries around the world.


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MTSA 2019 Commencement Ceremony

Class of 2019 Master of Science with a Focus in Anesthesia graduates.

Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia hosted Commencement Exercises for the Class of 2019 on Nov. 15, 2019, at the Madison Campus Seventh-day Adventist Church. The program was streamed live online, and a video of the event is available at

Dean Emerita Mary E. “Ikey” DeVasher, PhD, CRNA, led the procession of the MTSA board of trustees, administration, faculty and graduates while carrying the MTSA mace.

During his opening remarks, President Chris Hulin said his memories of the Class of 2019 will always be connected with its commitment to service, with the “collective caring heart that this class represents.”

Hulin also urged graduates as they continued their professional journey to keep in mind important aspects of the School’s mission, including the pursuit of truth, excellence in anesthesia, and a life of service.

Following Hulin’s message, Class of 2019 graduate Betsy McCoy offered the invocation; MTSA Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Martin, MS, CRNA, added his congratulations to the graduates; and graduate Danielle Schuette introduced Kenneth E. Wetmore, MA, Senior Pastor, Madison Campus Seventh-day Adventist Church, who delivered a homily.

Graduate Julianne Jurjevich then introduced commencement address speaker Dennis Ferrier, investigative and feature reporter for Fox 17 News, who challenged the class to go beyond the pursuit of a successful career and to focus on service, love and making the world a better place.

Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) Fellowship, introduced the ASPM Fellowship certificate recipients. He also announced the recipients of the Outstanding Achievement Award: Stace Dollar, MS, CRNA, and John Edwards, III, MS, CRNA. (See the cover story in this issue of Airways.)

After graduates were presented their diplomas, the ceremony was closed with a special musical presentation by graduate Grace Mlondiwa and her daughter Jean Mlondiwa, followed by a benediction by graduate Kemens Desruisseaux.

Class of 2019 Clinical Experiences

Each year MTSA graduates well-exceed requirements of the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) regarding the number of cases and procedures for clinical experiences in order for the candidate to be eligible to take the National Certification Examination.

NBCRNA sets the required numbers of cases and procedures for clinical experiences in order for the candidate to be eligible to take the National Certification Examination.

The following statistics are derived from the information provided to the NBCRNA for certification requirements for the graduates as of Nov. 1, 2019.

NBCRNA requires a minimum number of 600 cases. The average number of cases performed by members of the Class of 2019 was 832 cases. The graduate with the highest number of cases performed was Kemens Desruisseaux who had 987 cases.

NBCRNA requires a minimum of 850 hours of clinical time. The average number of hours spent actually doing anesthesia by the members of the Class of 2019 was 2,709 hours. The graduate with the most hours of anesthesia time was Amelia Burrows with 3,099 hours.

NBCRNA requires each graduate to have administered anesthesia to at least 40 pediatric patients. Members of the Class of 2019 performed an average of 151 anesthetics for pediatric patients. The graduate with the highest number was Radha Patel with 233 pediatric cases.

NBCRNA requires each graduate to have provided anesthesia for at least 30 obstetrical patients. The average number of anesthetics in this category for members of the Class of 2019 was 75. The graduate with the highest number was Todd Demars with 157 obstetrical patients.

Graduates from all programs across the United States are required to perform a minimum of 35 regional anesthetics. These 35 can be from a combination of all categories of regional anesthesia. The members of this graduating class administered an average of 111 regional anesthetics. Epidural and spinal anesthesia are techniques of regional anesthesia. The members of this class performed an average of 26 spinal anesthetics and an average of 50 epidurals.


During the graduation ceremony, awards were presented to the following graduates:

Team Spirit Award: Danny Olivera

This award is voted on solely by Masters students and given to the person in their class who has continually offered encouragement and was always willing to lend a helpful hand.

Bernard Bowen Award for Academic Excellence: John Nickle

This award is named for the founder and first Program Director of the school of nurse anesthesia in 1950. The recipient was chosen by votes from the MTSA faculty and administration. The student selected for this award must have upheld the mission and core values of MTSA, achieved a GPA of 3.75 or higher, exhibited professionalism during interaction with classmates and academic faculty, and fostered a spirit of academic excellence beyond the expectations and degree requirements.

Agatha Hodgins Award for Clinical Excellence: Charina Pelayo

This award is named for the founder and first president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Ms. Hodgins was also a strong advocate for the education of nurse anesthetists. The clinical affiliates of Vanderbilt, General Hospital, along with MTSA Administration, had input into the selection of the recipient for this award. The student selected for this award must have upheld the mission and core values of MTSA, achieved a GPA of 3.75 or higher, and exhibited professionalism during interaction with clinical faculty and classmates, and fostered a spirit of clinical excellence beyond the expectations and degree requirements.

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Regional Cadaveric Workshop to Include Special Lecture

Serge Marchand, PhD, to discuss ‘Persistent Post-Surgical Pain’

Serge Marchand, PhD

MTSA announced it will offer four Cadaveric Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia workshops for CRNAs this year, including special lectures:

  • SOLD OUT: Basic Course – Feb. 23
  • Basic Course – March 22
  • Advanced Course – Aug. 2
  • Advanced Course – Oct. 25

The special lecturer on Feb. 23 will be Serge Marchand, PhD, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Sherbrooke University and director of pain research labs at the research center of the Sherbrooke University hospital. He will present “Persistent Post-Surgical Pain In a Surgical Patient: Mechanism of Action.”

MTSA’s Regional Cadaveric Workshops are hands-on training courses for CRNAs, utilizing cadavers and “live” scanning models, state-of-the-art ultrasound technology, and a comprehensive approach to regional anesthesia techniques for surgery and acute pain management.

Participants receive the benefits of small-group “live” scanning and needling stations, low faculty-to-attendee ratios, and an individualized learning plan that suits the attendee’s needs in regional anesthesia. Information presented is highly practical and immediately useful to the attendee’s daily clinical practice.

Registration is available at For more information contact Bill Johnson at (615) 732-7846 or

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Save the Dates for MTSA’s Fall Events

17th Annual MTSA Golf Classic
Thursday, Sept. 17
Hermitage Golf Course
Benefitting MTSA’s Mission Initiatives in Guyana and local communities.

4th Annual MTSA Sporting Clay Tournament
Friday, Nov. 6
Nashville Gun Club
Benefitting MTSA’s opioid-reduction initiative.

For more information, visit or call (615) 732-7674.

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Alumni Attend Tots ‘n’ Dogs Picnic

A hungry group of MTSA alumni, family and friends attended the Tots ‘n’ Dogs picnic hosted by Alumni President Rod Schwindt on Nov. 10 at Saunders Ferry Park in Hendersonville, Tenn. The event featured Rod’s famous tater tots, hot dogs with all the toppings, and side dishes provided by the attendees. Aside from the feasting, attendees also competed at various games, including bocce ball and corn hole.


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MTSA Featured on Fox 17 Nashville

MTSA was recently featured in multiple news segments on Fox 17 Nashville (WZTV-TV), highlighting the School’s uniqueness and its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

“Ever had a baby, a colonoscopy, any kind of surgery where you were put to sleep? You were most likely served by a graduate of Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia,” said Dennis Ferrier, investigative and feature reporter for Fox 17, as he presented the in-depth segment on the air.

The story included interviews with MTSA staff Maria Overstreet, PhD, RN, Vice President, Academics & Institutional Effectiveness; Jim Closser, BA, CFRE, Vice President, Advancement & Alumni; and Ginger Miller, DNP, CRNA, Director, Center for Clinical Simulation. In addition, the piece showed several MTSA students practicing their techniques in a simulation lab.

MTSA was also the focus of a separate news segment on Fox 17 dedicated to the opioid epidemic. The story showcased the use of ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia and included interviews with Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the Acute Surgical Pain Management (ASPM) Fellowship, and 2019 graduate Michelle Mertens, who was practicing a scan used for an interscalene block.

MTSA’s 2019 graduation ceremony was featured in a third recent Fox 17 news story focusing on Ferrier, who delivered the keynote address. In addition, an interview with 2019 graduate Danielle Schutte was included.

The news segments can be viewed by visiting

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MTSA Taking the Lead on PoCUS Workshop

MTSA announced John Shields, DNP, CRNA, will lead a group of faculty and collaborators presenting a special workshop at the 2020 AANA Annual Congress taking place in San Diego in August.

The workshop will center on Perioperative Point-of-Care Ultrasound (PoCUS), offering training in basic clinical ultrasound used to assist in perioperative assessment and decision-making. It will include a two-part course with online modules and a hands-on workshop, according to Shields.

Shields will be joined by Rusty Gentry, DNAP, CRNA, Program Administrator; Bill Johnson, DNAP, CRNA, Director of the Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship; and Ginger Miller, DNP, CRNA, Director of the Center for Clinical Simulation. The group is bringing a new educational delivery method to the AANA with online didactic instructions, allowing for full utilization of time onsite for hands-on scanning and practice.

The knowledge-based online learning component will focus on ultrasound knowledge and scanning techniques. Core perioperative PoCUS scanning will be offered including airway, gastric, abdomen, vascular, transthoracic and basic transesophageal echocardiography. Participants will study the modules at their own pace, and the material may be accessed through smartphones and tablets.

The hands-on component will offer human models for scanning and state-of-the-art ultrasound simulators from Intelligent Ultrasound. Along with comprehensive perioperative scanning techniques all participants will be able to perform FATE and FAST exams. Upon completion of the online and workshop components of the course the participant will receive a certificate of completion.

Look for more information regarding registration coming soon.

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MTSA to Host 7th Annual Mission & Awards Gala

Members of the Alumni Association are making plans for the 7th annual MTSA Mission & Awards Gala, to be held Thursday, May 7, at the Westin Nashville. As in previous years, proceeds from the event will support MTSA’s Mission Initiatives, including efforts in Guyana and local communities.

“I appreciate Chairman Matt Demaree and the entire committee for their ongoing work to plan this year’s Gala,” said MTSA Vice President of Alumni & Advance​ment Jim Closser. “The team is focused on ensuring our Mission Initiatives continue to be well-funded, which provides enormous benefits to so many in underserved areas. I’m also grateful to everyone who will be supporting these efforts by attending or sponsoring the Gala. We’re looking forward to a wonderful event!”

As part of the Gala, MTSA alumni and friends choose nominees for five awards to be presented at the event: Mary Elizabeth “Ikey” DeVasher Alumni Distinguished Service Award; Nevin Downs, MD Leadership Award; Clinical Excellence Award; Philanthropy Award; and Mission & Heritage Award. Those who wish to submit nominations may visit

The evening will include a silent auction, reception, dinner and award ceremony. The event is open to all including alumni, faculty, students, physicians, medical groups, corporations and individuals. There are several sponsorships available, in addition to table sponsors and individual tickets.

For more information, contact the MTSA Advancement & Alumni Office at (615) 732-7674 or visit


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2020 Alumni Committee

Congratulations to the new members* of the MTSA Alumni Committee for 2020!

  • President: Rod Schwindt
  • President-Elect: John Butorac*
  • Secretary: Brad Irby
  • Treasurer: Allen Hamilton*

Decade Representatives:

  • 2010-Present: Samantha Porter
  • 2000-2009: Kim Sharkey*
  • 1990-1999: Richard Russell Lane
  • 1980-1989: Danny Denning
  • 1970-1979: Debbie Leeper*
  • Pre 1969 & Retired CRNAs: Lois Bernard*
  • Representative-at-Large: Wade Rippy

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Foreman Retirement

Another MTSA employee began retirement at the end of November 2019. Candace Foreman, Administrative Assistant to the Alumni & Advancement department has retired after a long career in healthcare and education. She was very instrumental in the success of the variety of special fundraising events including the Mission & Awards Gala, Golf Classic, and Sporting Clay Tournament. Pictured are some of her coworkers that attended a special luncheon in her honor: (L to R) Jean Baron-White, Pam Nimmo, Candace Foreman, Jessica Creason, Jennifer Speer, Linda Jones, and Debbie Rose.

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2020 CRNA Week

During the week of Jan. 19-25, MTSA will join the celebration of anesthesia patient safety and the nation’s nearly 54,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists who safely and cost-effectively provide more than 49 million anesthetics each year.

The School will be featured in outdoor billboard and radio advertisements in the Nashville market, in addition to social media promotion and an on-campus event on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 1 p.m. in the Bowen Center lecture hall.

More information is available at

The theme for this year’s National CRNA Week is “Your Comfort. Your Care. We are there.” The annual campaign helps patients, hospital administrators, healthcare professionals, policymakers and others become more familiar with the CRNA credential and the exceptional advanced practice registered nurses who have earned it. 2020 marks the 21st National CRNA Week.

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From the Archives: Class of 2010

The class of 2010, including former MTSA President Phil Hunt, wear the new stylish MTSA sunglasses given to celebrate CRNA Week.

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