Joseph Ortega

(Graduating SRNA from the University of Miami NAP)

Diversity Nurse Anesthesia has gotten so big! The AANA president-elect, Dennis Bless, CRNA, MS heard your voice and felt your presence and is now making it a priority of his and AANA to reach out to people of color and make anesthesia more diverse. You are doing great work and you are an inspiration to all of us! I can’t tell you how grateful I am that you suggested the University of Miami. They truly do value students of color and Miami itself has many Anesthetists (MD&CRNA) from very diverse backgrounds.

Devon Locust

(Graduate of Wayne State University NAP)

I was not raised in a nuclear family, I came from a broken home in inner city Detroit. As a child, I experienced hardships and poverty early, as my parents were plagued by consuming drug and alcohol addictions. I was shuffled around foster homes, and it may have seemed that I’d become another statistic, but the good Lord had a different plan for me. Key influential people were placed in my life’s path that taught me the importance of hard work, dedication, and faith. This truly changed the trajectory of my life journey. Dr. Wallena Gould was one of those individuals. While I was still in nursing school in 2008, our paths crossed and she invited me, a perfect stranger, into her home as if I were family. It was there that I was introduced to this thing called the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program. Now, 5 years later, I’m finally a CRNA. It’s a dream come true! The entire program, and so many of the people involved in it have been instrumental in my success. Thank God for Dr. Gould, and thank God for the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Program.

Francis Bicol

SRNA (Union University NAP)

I was in this March info session, grasping every bit of information. Blessed to have been interviewed by Union Univ NAP April 5th and got my acceptance call 5 days later. I wouldn’t have made it through one school application without my mentors and this program.

Byron Anderson

SRNA (Arkansas State University)

On 08/11/2013 I was invited by my mentors Dr. Lena Gould, CRNA, EdD & John David Bing Jr, CRNA to speak at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist (AANA) annual meeting (Las Vegas, NV) for the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program (DNAMP) black & white event. I am blessed to be given a platform to tell my testimony & to inspire other minority nurses of color.

Elizabeth Abraham

BSN, CCRN (Maryland)

I’m so glad to have been a part of this weekend’s conference at the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program geared to help minorities excel in such a highly coveted profession!! It is such a blessing that people like Dr Lena Gould and Mr John Bing and their team of mentors are helping so many students achieve their dreams!! Thank you all, I can’t wait to get involved
and give back!

Erica Jordan

SRNA (Florida)

You inspire me so much. Your vision to create diversity in nurse anesthesia has helped so many people including me. Your mentorship has helped me get to this point and now the craziness will begin in a few months. Because of DNAMP, I know more SRNAs & CRNAs then I would imagine I would before beginning school. When discouragement tried to creep in , you pumped me right back up. Continue to do what you do. It’s changing lives. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.#inmyfeelings#mymentor #blessed##happy#rn

Anoop Banathia


Dr. Lena Gould, thank you for all that you do. Your selfless attitude and demeanor is forever inspiring. This weekend was simply invaluable and unforgettable. After this weekend, I find myself fully encouraged and motivated to realize my dream and my potential.

Elsa Rodriguez-Roth

SRNA (University of New England)

Had an awesome time this past weekend at Samuel Merritt University for the Diversity CRNA Info Session Event – Oakland California. So glad I was able to be part of the high Fidelity, manikin based simulation lab. Kudos to the entire staff and students of Samuel Merritt University for a great hospitality. As always they did an upstanding job. Thank you so much to our guest speaker Lynn Vitartas Reede, CRNA, DNP, MBA – AANA Senior Director Professional Practice, your message was very inspiring and encouraging. Thanks a million to Dr. Lena Gould, CRNA, EdD and John David Bing Jr, CRNA for all you
do for us!!!

Amlakie Digafie

BSN, CCRN (Maryland) Sept. 2013

A wise man ( my father ) to be specific, once told me that a good leader is the one who leads by example. I have had a distinct privilege of meeting the president of AANA Mr.Dennis Bless, CRNA, MS. at the Diversity CRNA Information Session at the University of Pittsburgh and solidify my understanding of nurse anesthesia as a profession. Mr. Bless presented nurse anesthesia from several angles and illustrated current issues with a special emphasis on the need to add diversity and making the profession represent the true makeup of the our society. Mr. Bless was very involved during the two day nurse anesthesia mentorship program and airway workshop organized by Dr. Lena Gould, Mr. John David Bing Jr, and Dr. John O’Donnell of the University of Pittsburgh. Similar to many other fellow future CRNAs I enjoyed being mentored by Mr. Bless on proper establishment and maintenance of airways at the WISER institute. THANK YOU is all I can say.

T’Anya Carter

MS, CRNA (Texas)

The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program, in my opinion, signifies progress and much needed change. I met Dr. Wallena Gould, CRNA at the Annual Meeting in Minneapolis in 2008 as a trainee. And at the time, the statistics regarding the numbers of nurse anesthetists of color were abysmal. Through this program, minority trainees are being exposed to a career in nurse anesthesia in record numbers. Although the numbers are not yet where they should be, they are improving. As Gandhi so eloquently stated, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Wallena is a living testament to this statement. Through her vision and leadership, she has instilled in many of us along the way to continue to inspire others the way she inspired us. I subscribe to this school of thought and have made myself visible and available to a number of nurses and nursing students on their own quest to achieve the previously perceived unachievable career of nurse anesthesia. This is progress.