Dual events raise funds for missions

Featured photo: Gala awardees (l to r) Dina Filomena Velocci, Kenneth Wayne Hutchinson, D. Harold Greene, Rod Schwindt and Tammy Hooper Freehling.

Nearly 50% of Gala attendees were MTSA alumni and students while others include MTSA community friends and partners

4th Annual Mission & Awards Gala

(l to r) Buffy Krauser Lupear, DNP, CRNA; Bethany Gallant, CRNA; Steve Layman; Ashley Jacobs, CRNA.


On May 4, 2017, Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia (MTSA) hosted its 4th annual Mission & Awards Gala with 240 guests who gathered at the Westin Nashville. Sponsored by Anesthesia Medical Group, the event raised needed funds for the School’s Mission Initiative in Haiti and other local communities.

NewsChannel 5 Sports Anchor Steve Layman served as master of ceremonies for the evening, which included a reception, dinner, award ceremony and entertainment featuring singer-songwriters Neil Thrasher, Jessi Alexander and Wendell Mobley with an acoustic performance.

“I am grateful for the support of each financial contributor who has helped make this evening possible as proceeds fund MTSA’s continuing Mission Initiative,” said MTSA President Chris Hulin during his remarks. “Your help tonight will fund anesthesia gas analyzers that will help better equip our students, alumni, and our anesthesia colleagues to provide a higher level of care with a higher level of safety for surgery patients in Haiti.”

Hulin also thanked the committee that worked to make the evening a success. They included: Buffy Krauser Lupear (Chairman), Jordan C. Miller (Vice Chairman), Michelle Arant, Lois Bernard, Diana Bird, Matt Demaree, Bethany Gallant, Debbie Greenwell, Kristin Gregory, Rhonda Hendon, Ashley Jacobs, Roxanne Lenz, Tammy Myers, Nancy Palmore and Nikki Wallace.

During the award presentations, the School recognized the following individuals:

  • Mary Elizabeth “Ikey” DeVasher Alumni Distinguished Service Award: Dina Filomena Velocci, DNP, CRNA
  • Nevin Downs, MD Leadership Award: Kenneth Wayne Hutchinson, II, AD, CRNA
  • Clinical Excellence Award: Tammy Hooper Freehling, MSN, CRNA
  • Philanthropy Award: Harold Greene, RHU, CLTC
  • Mission & Heritage Award: Rod Schwindt, MS, CRNA

Event sponsors included:

  • Presenting Sponsor: Anesthesia Medical Group
  • Dinner: NorthStar Anesthesia
  • Nevin Downs, MD Leadership Award: Myrtianne Downs
  • Philanthropy Award: Mollenkopf Design Group
  • Mission & Heritage Award: KY-TN Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  • Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Valley Anesthesia Educational Programs
  • Clinical Excellence Award: Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists

MTSA’s Board and Administration wish to thank those who attended the Gala or supported the Mission Initiative through special donations.

Inaugural Sporting Clay Tournament

35% of participants were MTSA alum and students

First Place Team Winners include SRNAs Spencer Stanton, Tevis Smith, Mark Jolly, Tim Cornwall, and Grant Visbeen.

Yvette Riker, CRNA Tournament Chairman receives an award from MTSA President Chris Hulin, DNP, MBA, CRNA.

Chairman Yvette Riker and fellow team member Karen Parrick, both MTSA alum.


On May 5, 2017, supporters joined in the fun at MTSA’s inaugural Sporting Clay Tournament at the Nashville Gun Club. The unique event was geared toward all levels of experience – from those who have never shot a gun to expert sharpshooters – and also raised funds for the School’s Mission Initiative in Haiti and local communities.

Teams of five – which included MTSA students, alumni, faculty, business partners and friends – engaged in a friendly competition to shoot clays on a multi-station course along the Cumberland River. The weather was cool and misty, but the participants were unfazed. After the competition, an awards luncheon was held during which prizes were given for the teams with the most clays shot.

“The annual sporting clay event was a lot of fun for the participants. There is much feedback and encouragement from the group to expand from 50 to 100 clays in the future. We are looking forward to another great tournament next year and most thankful for all of the community support and leadership of MTSA alum, and our event chairman Yvette Riker, CRNA,” said Jim Closser, VP for advancement and alumni.



Mary Elizabeth “Ikey” DeVasher Alumni Distinguished Service Award

Dina Filomena Velocci, DNP, CRNA
Independent contractor, staff CRNA, Jackson-Madison County General Hospital, Jackson, Tenn.

Dina Velocci has been a staff CRNA at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tenn., since 2012 and is also an independent contractor. Prior to that, she held a staff CRNA position at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and worked PRN for Southern Tennessee Medical Center in Winchester, Tenn.

Dina began her higher education at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where she earned her B.A. From there she went on to receive her B.S. in Nursing from Austin Peay State Univ. in Clarksville, Tenn. In 2004, she graduated from MTSA’s Master of Science program and went on to earn her DNP from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Since receiving her degree from MTSA, Dina has returned year after year as a clinical and didactic instructor, transferring her real-world experience into critical learning for students. She has taught a wide range of topics, including ANPA 500 Professional Aspects I and II, Path Management, Pediatric Anesthesia and Anesthesia for Vascular Surgery.

Dina has dedicated considerable time and effort to sharing her knowledge outside the classroom as well. She regularly delivers presentations in a variety of settings nationwide, including speeches for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), MAC Anesthesia Seminars, Med City Seminars, American Society of Anesthesia Technicians and others.

She is currently AANA Region 2 Director and has served as the President of the Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TANA), among many other positions.

“Ikey was the first person to tap me to join the education committee for TANA, which was my foray into advocating for CRNAs. So to win this award is really special to me. I remember what she said at my graduation, that my ‘moral compass was due north.’ As the years go by, I can appreciate the truth in that statement; I’m very passionate about standing up for those who are being wronged, and I continue to fight for CRNAs no matter the cost,” Dina said.


Nevin Downs, MD Leadership Award

Kenneth Wayne Hutchinson, II, AD, CRNA
President, West TN Anesthesia, P.C., Jackson, Tenn.

Ken Hutchinson was born in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., in 1955. He lived in North Carolina for 16 years and moved with his family to Madison, Tenn., in 1971. He attended Madison Academy and graduated in 1973. While at the academy, he met Sheree Denise Abbott whom he later married. Ken’s father sold anesthesia equipment, which is how he became interested in becoming a CRNA.

Ken attended the Nashville campus of the University of Tennessee for his RN degree and started anesthesia school at Madison, now MTSA, in 1977. After graduation, he took a CRNA position at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence, Ala. In the spring of 1981, Ken was approached by Jack Edmondson, an MTSA graduate, about joining West TN Anesthesia, P.C. in Jackson, Tenn. WTA is an all-CRNA group started by two MTSA alumni, Ed Lee and Vickie Hines. Ken joined WTA in June of 1981. He became president of the group in 1984 and has remained in that position. Since its founding, WTA has remained an all-CRNA group. The group covers five general hospitals and three outpatient clinics. They employ eight CRNAs and three office personnel who handle billing and scheduling.

Ken and Sheree have been married for 40 years and have one son, William, and one daughter-in-law, Kristen, who also reside in Jackson. Ken and Sheree are active in the Jackson Seventh-day Adventist Church. In his spare time, Ken likes to jog, does some shooting, and looks forward to duck hunting and fishing with William. He also enjoys a quiet walk in the woods as much as anything. He remains a strong proponent of CRNA-administered anesthesia and groups consisting of all CRNAs.

“I’m incredibly honored and humbled to receive the Nevin Downs, MD Leadership Award,” Ken said. “Dr. Downs was my favorite instructor. I always thought he was a genuinely sincere, kind and thoughtful person and an excellent instructor. I always appreciated his support of CRNAs.”


Clinical Excellence Award

Tammy Hooper Freehling, MSN, CRNA
Service specialist for neuroanesthesia, staff CRNA, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville

Tammy Freehling, CRNA, MSN, is in her 20th year at Vanderbilt in Nashville as a nurse anesthetist. She began her nurse anesthesia training at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1994 and graduated in 1996 with an MSN degree. Prior to that, she had 10 years of critical care experience – five spent in Denver at both Lutheran Medical Center and Porter Hospital. The foundational years were spent in the critical care pods of St. Thomas in Nashville, starting in 1984 after she graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelors in Nursing. She is a native of Gallatin, Tenn.

Tammy was exposed to the medical field at a young age; her father was a family practice physician in Gallatin beginning in the 1960s. She witnessed firsthand his passion for patient care, which gave her – along with many others in her family – the inspiration to go into the medical and nursing profession.

Tammy’s affiliation with MTSA began in her first year as a nurse anesthetist at Vanderbilt. At that time, she began delivering her neuro lecture and has provided this each year since. She mentored primarily junior SRNAs in the beginning but, along with her attending anesthesiologists, agreed that the neurospecialty was much better suited as a senior elective rotation. Some 16 years later, Tammy continues to manage the neurorotation for SRNAs and has grown her practice in the volume, acuity and variety of neuroanesthetics delivered. Under her guidance, student anesthetists are mentored in the care of functional, intracranial, spinal and interventional neurosurgery patients.

“I’ve been a preceptor ever since I was an RN at St. Thomas Hospital, and I really loved teaching even then,” Tammy said. “Interacting with students over the years has enriched my practice greatly. Time and again, I have seen the students mature to become fantastic coworkers, and some have even cared for my family members having surgeries. It means a lot to me to see how the program at MTSA has grown over the years. I really appreciate the chance to be involved with the school. It’s been a great source of satisfaction for me.”

Tammy and her husband, Michael, are celebrating their 29th anniversary this year. She describes him as her “rock (as he’s a geological engineer) and best friend.” Their son, Nathan, is also a Vanderbilt graduate and currently serves as a project engineer at Nissan. Tammy and Michael are well-known for their love of hiking. They have taken many trips throughout the West, including Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks.


Philanthropy Award

Harold Greene, RHU, CLTC
Independent insurance agent

Harold Greene, RHU, CLTC, was born in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and lived his early years in Montgomery County. At the age of 11, his family moved to Chicago, and three years later, he and his family moved to Nashville. Harold’s love of sports helped him make friends as he moved schools in his adolescent years. He became a stand out basketball player in high school and was offered a basketball scholarship at Belmont University. Harold was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. After earning his Bachelor of Science in Business in 1971, Harold became a manager for 84 Lumber and also served in the National Guard.

Harold wanted the opportunity to be more independent in his career and found a position as an insurance agent with Paul Revere. After six years with Paul Revere, Harold continued his career with Mass Mutual. Initially, Harold started on his career path seeking a steady position with a solid company but the motivating force driving his success was that the products he represented gave his clients peace of mind for the future.

Harold began working with MTSA in 1990. Since that time, he has provided financial services for the graduates and alumni. He has also served on the MTSA Advancement Committee and been a charter member of the Bernard V. Bowen Society. Harold has participated in the MTSA Golf Classic for the last 13 years and has been a corporate sponsor and looks forward to many more years of participation. He is chairman of the event this year.

“I was pleasantly surprised and honored to receive this award, especially since it often goes to people in the medical profession,” Harold said. “I became involved with CRNAs when I went to my first Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists meeting in the late 1980s, where I met Bernard DeVasher. Then Ikey invited me to speak to MTSA graduates in 1990, and I’ve been doing that ever since, which has been a great pleasure. I’ve really dedicated my practice to work with CRNAs because they’re quality people, and I’m fortunate to spend time with them.”


Mission & Heritage Award

Rod Schwindt, MS, CRNA
Lead nurse anesthetist, AMG, Centennial Medical Center, Nashville

Rod Schwindt has served as a nurse anesthetist for 16 years, and lead for seven years, for AMG at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville. During that time, he has been a mentor, assisting in orientation with new hires and continually working to increase the team’s knowledge and skill set. He is an exemplary leader among his peers as well as with the students.

Rod received an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Evansville, a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Indiana State University-Evansville and a Master of Science from MTSA. Earlier in his career, he served as an emergency room nurse, EMT shift supervisor, surgical assistant and a firefighter.

Rod has been working with MTSA for many years. During that time, he has been a lead preceptor with students, both working at the clinical site as well as with the school. He works with juniors, seniors and super seniors. He is especially key in the orientation of super seniors to AMG’s workforce. He ensures they learn as much as possible in order to make a smooth transition from SRNA to CRNA.

Beyond his normal work schedule, Rod uses his free time to tutor students, preparing them to take boards. He mentors and tutors students that are unable to pass boards the first time as well. He focuses on strengthening the SRNA’s study and test-taking skills and increasing the individual’s overall understanding of concepts. “It’s wonderful to receive this award, and I appreciate being recognized,” Rod said. “Tutoring and mentoring graduates in preparation to take the national certification examination is a ministry that has been my privilege for more than 15 years. The Lord has blessed the School and I consider it an honor to have a small part in helping students be successful.”

In addition to multiple volunteer positions with the Madison Campus Seventh-day Adventist church, Rod also works with community organizations such as Paradise Ranch, an equestrian facility dedicated to adults with various disabilities. He enjoys camping, off-road Jeeping, dual sport motorcycling, fly and surf fishing, trap and pistol shooting, and finding remote vacation destinations with his wife of 34 years, Lisa, and two daughters, Kendyl and Kristen.

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President's Message

Advocating for CRNAs

Chris Hulin

Equipping students for a vibrant career in nurse anesthesia is a multifaceted effort for MTSA. We’re always seeking new ways to make an impact that goes beyond the classroom.

With that in mind, I recently had the honor of appearing before an opioid task force meeting called by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in which regulators sought input from a wide variety of stakeholders. They were interested in the perspective of educators and providers on the best methods to mitigate the opioid epidemic sweeping across our nation.

The presentation was a unique opportunity to represent not only MTSA but also the 50,000 student and CRNA members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). I used my time to reiterate the important role CRNAs play and how we as a profession are underutilized in combating the problem of opioid abuse. In particular, I noted:

  • Nurse anesthesia education programs, the AANA and state nurse anesthetists associations play an active role in educating CRNAs to reduce or, when appropriate, eliminate use of opioids.
  • Federal and non-federal partnerships are crucial to address educating patients and providers on this complex crisis. Collaborative, multidisciplinary clinician education, research and practice will have a positive impact on the patient’s safety and pain experience.
  • With the demand for pain management services increasing, additional healthcare professionals with pain management expertise will be needed. It is important to remove artificial, unnecessary barriers at the practice, state and federal level for the interdisciplinary healthcare team that includes CRNAs.
  • Patients must remain at the center of this discussion. They need to be educated, empowered and engaged in their care to understand their treatment options and that opioids may not be necessary to address their pain.

MTSA remains committed to providing a wholistic approach to education, which includes leading the way both inside and outside the classroom. With our charge to “reflect Christ in anesthesia education,” we will continue engaging public and private entities to advance nurse anesthesia practice and our place within the discipline.

I invite you to get involved as well. Contact the AANA or your state CRNA association. Make a donation. Ask how you can help advocate for the profession to ensure nurse anesthesia continues to be a thriving specialty that has a positive impact on patient care.

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Continuing Education

MTSA is pleased to begin a series of free continuing education credits in the quarterly Airways magazine. These CEs are provided as a service for MTSA alum and other CRNAs throughout the country. The school has a volume of resources as its doctoral students create expert content on a variety of topics.

We invite you to read the content written by MTSA alumnus Bryan Anderson, DNAP, CRNA, who completed his doctor of nurse anesthesia practice degree in 2016. His topic is: The Use of Remifentanil as the Primary Agent for Analgesia in Parturients for whom Neuraxial Anesthesia is Not an Option.



  1. Read the content.
  2. Take post-test online at:
  3. Complete evaluation at:
  4. Upon successful completion and passing of the post-test, your CE will be submitted to the AANA and you will receive a completion certificate.

NOTE:  You will have only a single opportunity to take the post test. You must score at least 80% to pass. There is no provision to re-take the test.

This program has been prior approved by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists for 1.00 Class A CE credits; Code Number 1034911; Expiration Date 6/30/2020.

MTSA is grateful to Dr. Anderson for his willingness to provide this scholarly project for the first CE. The Airways editorial staff wishes to express appreciation to Steven Krau, PhD, for his expert editing and formatting of Dr. Anderson’s scholarly work for this CE presentation.

Bryan Anderson, DNAP, CRNA

Bryan Anderson is an independent anesthesia provider based in the Memphis area. He and his wife, who is also an MTSA graduate and practicing CRNA, travel to clinics throughout the southeast. He graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Nursing in 2007. He received his Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia from MTSA in 2011 and completed his DNAP at MTSA in 2014.

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14th Annual MTSA Golf Classic

Get your swing in shape! Participants are cordially invited to the 14th Annual MTSA Golf Classic on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, at Hermitage Golf Course – General’s Retreat. Lunch and dinner will be provided.


10:30 a.m.: Registration opens
12:00 p.m.: Lunch
1:00 p.m.: Shotgun Start
Awards & Dinner to follow event

Event chair: D. Harold Greene

Teams will compete in a four-person scramble. Prizes will be awarded in three flights. Proceeds benefit MTSA’s Mission Initiative in Haiti and local communities.

Hermitage Golf Course is located at 3939 Old Hickory Boulevard, Old Hickory, TN. To reserve your team or sponsorships, please contact the MTSA Advancement Office at (615) 732-7665 or visit

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Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship gains momentum

Applications for second cohort to open Oct. 1

MTSA’s Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship (ASPMF) is off to a great start, according to its director, Bill Johnson. The first cohort totaling 14 fellows began the 12-month curriculum on July 17.

The following clinical sites are now part of the program:

  • NorthCrest Medical Center, Springfield, TN
  • Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, Lawrenceburg, TN
  • Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, Oklahoma City

The objective of the Fellowship, a component of the AANA Pain Management Curriculum, is to advance the knowledge and skills of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in acute surgical pain management and prepare them to help meet the growing need for this evidence-based approach in the United States.

The application period for the second cohort will be open Oct. 1 – Dec. 1, and interviews will take place in December. Classes will begin in January 2018. For more information, visit www.mtsa/fellowship.

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COA grants 10-year accreditation to MTSA programs

MTSA received notice from COA that accreditation for its Masters and DNAP degrees has been extended for 10 years. Following is the letter received, which highlights the School’s achievements.

Click below to view the letter:


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Overstreet completes leadership fellowship

Maria Overstreet, PhD, RN
Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia

In May, Maria Overstreet, PhD, RN, MTSA Dean, completed a fellowship with the Executive Leadership Institute, presented by the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA).

Dr. Overstreet joined with leaders from 17 other institutions for the nine-month program. The fellows attended sessions that covered topics related to higher education administration, including governance and board relations, strategic planning, finances, advancement and student success.

“The program challenged me to enhance my knowledge and skills through the lens of MTSA’s mission, vision and core values,” Overstreet said. “With each concept or topic discussed, I would ask myself how MTSA would react or assess or be challenged. It was so energizing to be amongst such bright and positive executives where we shared accomplishments and experiences.

“I appreciate Dr. Hulin’s confidence in me and for nominating me to the inaugural class of fellows,” she added.

The TICUA Executive Leadership Institute is a leadership development program for senior campus officials seeking to advance to a college or university executive role and more importantly, is designed to strengthen the institution’s senior leadership team.

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From the Archives: Alumni dinner in Alabama

This section typically features historic photos and memories from decades past. However, in this issue we’re reaching back just 10 years to 2007. Here MTSA alumni gather for a dinner in Florence, Ala. (l to r) Joey Puckett, Barry Broadfoot, Jimmy Nix, Jason Hollis, Tiffany Daily and Russ Daily (who were married while attending MTSA).

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