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Park Ridge, Ill. – Wallena Gould, EdD, CRNA, FAAN, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) from Mickleton, N.J., will receive the 45th Annual Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment during the 2019 American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress in Chicago, Ill.
The Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment was established in 1975 to recognize individuals whose foremost dedication to excellence has furthered the art and science of nurse anesthesia. The award was established to honor Agatha Hodgins (1877-1945), founder and first president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
Dr. Gould is a former chief nurse anesthetist at Inspira Health System and Mainline Endoscopy Centers and the founder and chief executive officer of the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program.
In 2007, choosing the road less traveled, Gould founded the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program (DNAMP) as a non-profit organization. This national mentoring program started as an assigned nurse anesthesia poster project, titled, Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia in 2003. The mission of DNAMP is to inform, empower, and mentor underserved diverse populations with information to prepare them for a successful career in nurse anesthesia.
“I thank God for prolific CRNA mentors in the formative years of Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia, including Ms. Goldie Brangman, MBA, MEd (AANA former president and program director of Harlem School of Anesthesia), and the late Dr. Arthur Zwerling, DNP, MSN, MS, CRNA, DAAPM, who was the chief CRNA at Fox Chase Center, past program director at the University of Pennsylvania Nurse Anesthesia Program and the AANA Peer Assistance Chair. Both individuals passed the torch and challenged me to think outside of the box, respectively," said Gould. “Brangman and Zwerling saw my potential when only a few others believed in me and the impact I could make within the nurse anesthesia profession. These two nurse anesthesia icons asked me to do something profound to move the needle about the anemic results of diversity in the nurse anesthesia profession. And, I did exactly that by building relationships and a road map toward bridging the workforce gap.”
As a nurse anesthesia student Gould recognized that minorities within the nurse anesthesia profession were underrepresented and focused her research on diversity within the profession. The DNAMP fulfills its mission by offering information sessions, anesthesia airway workshops, sponsoring nurse anesthesia students at the AANA Annual Congress, participating in high school career days; visiting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and primarily Hispanic Serving Institutions Schools of Nursing and increasing the doctorate pipeline with Diversity Advanced Practice Doctorate Symposiums.
The mentoring accomplishments of the DNAMP is well-documented, not only by the number of prospective students who attend the nationally recognized workshops, symposiums, minority serving institutions and boot camps, but also by the increased number of diverse CRNAs entering the profession. Gould has made a transformative impact, to date, more than 510 diverse nurses have successfully matriculated through 68 graduate nurse anesthesia programs. DNAMP attendees have graduated and gone on to accept positions in roles such as chief CRNAs, clinical coordinators, full-time faculty, pain management certified providers, anesthesia business owners, military officers, and CRNAs who have gone on to earn doctorate degrees.
Gould was the first CRNA of color to be inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2015. In 2016, she was selected as the AANA Chair of the Diversity Task Force. In addition, she was the 2018 recipient of the National Black Nurses Association’s Trailblazer Award.
A CRNA for more than 15 years, Gould earned her doctorate in education from Wilmington University in New Castle, Del., and her Master of Science in nurse anesthesia from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, Pa. In addition, she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickerson University in Teaneck, N.J., and an associate degree in nursing from Gloucester County College in Sewell, N.J.