In 1983 the AANA Ad Hoc Committee on Chemical Dependency was appointed to address concerns that anesthesia providers, because of their exposure and the nature of their work, appear to be at a high risk for substance abuse. This committee served as a resource and support for nurse anesthesia professionals and students; it grew and expanded to today's Peer Assistance Advisors Committee, who continues this work through the helpline (800) 654-5167, education, advocacy, and policy recommendations.
In 2004 the AANA Wellness Program began with the objectives of developing and implementing functional strategies encompassing health promotion and the elements of wellness, balance, and self-care. Working together on key issues of education for the prevention of occupational risk of substance use disorder (SUD) addressing the importance of personal health lifestyles for anesthesia professionals, the two groups collaborate as AANA Health & Wellness.
For more information on the AANA Peer Assistance story:
- 2009 AANA Journal article by Diana Quinlan, CRNA, MA: Peer Assistance Reaches its 25th Year
- 2011 Peer Assistance News article: Almost Everything You Want to Know about the AANA's Peer Assistance Advisors Committee
- Narcotics and the Anesthetist: Professional Hazards in the June 1962 Journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (now known as the AANA Journal) by John S. Lundy, MD and Florence A. McQuillen, CRNA.
An early alert to addiction in anesthesia professionals.
- Ignoring the Problem Will Not Make It Go Away, by Ira P. Gunn, CRNA, MLN, FAAN in CRNA: The Clinical Forum for Nurse Anesthetists, Vol. 2, No. 3 (August), 1986:p 2.
- Janet R. Stewart, CRNA, ARNP, 1952 - 2002; overdose death served as impetus to today's AANA Health and Wellness program.
- Diana Quinlan, CRNA, MA; charter member of Peer Assistance Advisors committee and chair for over 10 years.
- Carlos "Rusty" Ratliff, CRNA, BSNA, 1948 - 2001; member of AANA Peer Assistance Advisors for over 10 years and cofounder and coordinator of Anesthetists in Recovery (AIR).
- G. Douglas Talbott, MD, 1924 - 2014; recovery and addiction professional integral to the development of AANA Peer Assistance.
- Arthur J. Zwerling, CRNA, MSN, MS, DNP, DAAPM, 1952-2014; tireless advocate for peer assistance support and addiction education, who served 16 years on the Peer Assistance Advisors committee.