Association of Veterans Affairs
Nurse Anesthetists

2014-2015 Board of Directors
AVANA Annual Meeting
Pittsburgh, PA

April 2014

2014 - 2015 AVANA Board of Directors
Sherry Swearngin, CRNA
Sherry Swearngin, MHS, RN, CRNA
Boise, ID
Boise VAMC
Sherry Swearngin obtained her ADN from Weber State University, in Ogden, Utah. She graduated with a BSN from the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She attended Texas Wesleyan University, School of Nurse Anesthesia, Fort Worth, Texas and graduated with a Masters in Health Science.

Ms. Swearngin started her anesthesia career at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Long Beach, California. She also worked at a County Hospital in San Bernardino, California. After moving to Idaho in 1998, she worked for Anesthesia Associates in Boise for 4 years before commencing employment with the Boise Veterans’ Administration Hospital. In conjunction with her clinical practice, Sherry is the Clinical Coordinator for nurse anesthesia students who rotate to the Boise VAMC from Westminster University, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sherry has been an active member in the Idaho Association of Nurse Anesthetists (IDANA). She has served on the Board of Directors (2002), President-Elect (2003), President (2004-2006), GRC (2007), and Secretary (2008-2010). Currently Sherry is the Foundation Advocate for the State of Idaho. She has also served as Chair of the Education Committee with responsibility for organizing the IDANA spring meeting.

Sherry has been a member of AVANA since 2004. She has served as Director at Large (2009-2011) and President-Elect (2011-2013).

Garrett Peterson, CRNA
Garrett Peterson, DNP, RN, CRNA
Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis VAMC
Garrett Peterson, DNP, RN, CRNA is a Staff Nurse Anesthetist at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System. He has been with the VA for 17 years. Dr. Peterson is a graduate of the former Nurse Anesthesia Program at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. He is the previous Associate Director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the University of Minnesota - School of Nursing and currently precepts nurse anesthesia students in the clinical area. He now is the Anesthesia department Education Coordinator and participates in simulation.

Dr. Peterson received his Master’s of Science and Doctor in Nursing Practice from the University of Minnesota. He has authored a chapter on the Practice of Nurse Anesthesia in a Doctor of Nursing Practice textbook and contributed to a Case Study in Nurse Anesthesia textbook.

Dr. Peterson has served on state and national levels: AVANA Central Regional Director 2009-2011; AVANA Educational Program Committee 2009-2012; AVANA Director-at-Large 2011-2013; Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists Program Committee 2009-current; Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists Treasurer-Elect 2011-2012; Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists Treasurer 2012-current; American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Education Committee 2009-2011; National Board of Certification and Recertification: Continued Professional Practice-Sub-committee for the recertification exam 2012-current

Garrett believes in providing high-quality, evidence based anesthesia care to the Veteran population.
Eduard Pineiro
Eduard Pineiro, CRNA
Longwood, FL
Orlando VAMC
Eduard Pineiro is a native of Cuba and was raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his nursing degree from Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga, Tennessee and, after a one year stint at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida as an RN, attended the Hurley Medical Center School of Anesthesia, which is now known at the University of Michigan-Flint’s School of Health Professions and Studies, for his anesthesia training.

During his many years of anesthesia, Eduard has worked in Michigan, Texas and Florida. He was honored to begin caring for the proud men and women who have served our country by joining the Veterans Health Administration at the Orlando VA Medical Center in 2008 and joined AVANA in 2009
Melanie Clemens, CRNA
Melanie Clemens, MSN, RN, CRNA
St. Petersburg, FL
Tampa VAMC
Melanie F. Clemens, CRNA, MSN is currently a staff nurse anesthetist at the James A. Haley VAMC in Tampa, FL. She has served AVANA since 2010, previously acting as the AVANA Eastern Regional Director, before relocating from the Brooklyn VAMC back to Tampa. She has also served as the Nominations Committee Chair for the past 2 years, on the Bylaws and Standing Rules Committee, and continues to serve on the Publications and as ex-officio on the Auditing and Budgeting Committee. Melanie has been with the VA since 2003 having spent time at the Tampa, FL VAMC, Augusta, GA VAMC, and Brooklyn, NY VAMC.

Melanie earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree from the University of South Florida in 2004. She was then accepted into the Critical Care Internship Program at the Tampa VAMC, training as an ICU nurse. Following several years working in the ICU in FL, she was accepted to the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing, obtaining her Masters of Science in Nursing and Certification in Nurse Anesthesia in 2009. Melanie is an active member of AANA and AVANA, has served as adjunct clinical faculty for Columbia University’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, and is currently enrolled as a doctoral student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
Rita Silen, CRNA
Rita Silen, BSN, RN, CRNA
Portland, Oregon
Portland VAMC
A native of West Tennessee, Rita earned undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and The University of Mississippi, Jackson, respectively. Practicing as a nurse anesthetist for over three decades, her professional pursuits have taken her to New York City (Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center), Saint Louis (private practice) and finally to Portland, where she has worked in the VA Hospital for the past thirteen years. Having served as Western Director for three years, she has stepped down to assume the post of Director-at-Large, filling the unexpired term of Garrett Peterson who is now serving as President-Elect.

In the Portland VA Medical Center (PVAMC), she has supported OHSU's School of Nursing as a preceptor for trainees in their Nurse Anesthesia Program. Clinical interests include Noise Pollution in the Operating Room, about which she has reported data in the PVAMC as well as the AORN community. Since 2001, she has worked in international humanitarian relief in a dozen countries serving women and children. Her home state of Tennessee is never far from her heart and in 2012 she was appointed to the Board of Advisors, College of Nursing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN
Rebecca Steinhardt, CRNA
Central Regional Director
Rebecca Steinhardt, MSN, RN, CRNA
Wichita, KS
Kansas VAMC
Rebecca Steinhardt, CRNA, MSN graduated from the Northeastern/United States Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing in 2009. She currently works as a staff nurse anesthetist for the Robert J. Dole VA in Wichita, KS. Prior to working as a CRNA she was clinical preceptor for the OR/PACU at the Robert J. Dole VA and served as clinical faculty for Wichita State University's Capstone Nursing project.

She is scheduled to attend national Out of OR Airway training, and is a committee member for her VISN's Anesthesia Record Keeping implementation team. Her undergraduate education was a BSN from Purdue University.
Edward Salkind, CRNA
Southern Regional Director
Edward Salkind, DNAP, APRN, CRNA
Lexington, SC
Columbia VAMC
Ed Salkind graduated from the Nazareth school of Nurse Anesthesia in September of 1985. He went to work in Michigan and the Detroit area for a year and returned to work in Philadelphia while studying for the newly formed Master’s degree program at St Joseph’s University in conjunction with Nazareth Nurse Anesthesia School. Ed worked at several hospitals including Temple University Hospital and University of Pennsylvania’s Presbyterian Hospital before moving to South Florida with his new wife Patricia. Ed worked at Baptist Hospital part time for 10 years as well as being Chief CRNA at Palmetto General in Hialeah. He worked as a staff CRNA at the Miami Veterans Administration Hospital from 2005 until 2011. Ed has lectured to anesthesia students at Florida International University in Miami and University of South Carolina. He was also a preceptor for four years at the Miami VA. He now works at the Dorn Veterans Administration Hospital in Columbia, SC and lectures dental residents in the practice and principles of anesthesia as well as providing educational support for joint grand rounds with Moncrief Army hospital.

Ed joined the Army reserve in 1999 for eight years starting at age 46, and served in several combat support hospitals including the 324th CSH and the 345th CSH. Major Salkind supported a health care mission to Ecuador and was called to active duty for OEF/OIF in 2005. Ed was stationed in Germany where he cared for returning casualties. He later received his Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia degree in 2011 from Virginia Commonwealth University at the Medical College of Virginia Campus in Richmond. His first publication for the AANA Journal on anesthesia safety is A Novel Approach to Anesthesia Safety during Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery. The article is scheduled to appear October of 2013.

After being elected to the Board of Directors at AVANA as the Southern Regional Director, Dr. Salkind hopes to help implement a positive direction in Nurse Anesthesia practice for VA CRNA’s in the coming term in concert with the excellent team of practitioners on the board at AVANA.

Diane Boettger, CRNA
Eastern Regional Director
Diane Boettger, MHS, BSN, RN, CRNA
Monroeville, PA
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Diane's education began with receiving a Diploma nursing degree at Robert Packer Hospital School of Nursing in Sayre, PA. followed by a BSN from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. She graduated in 1985 as a CRNA and with a Master in Health Sciences from Medical University of South Carolina.

Diane Boettger has spent most of her anesthesia career in the private sector in group practices- in Charleston, SC and Evanston, Illinois. For 23 years she has worked in and around Pittsburgh, Pa in a variety of group practices and locums opportunities. Diane has been adjunct faculty and a Clinical Coordinator for student anesthetists from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as Clinical Coordinator for SRNA's from Allegheny Valley Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia. Diane came to the Pittsburgh VA as a staff CRNA in 2008 and TRULY ENJOYS caring for the unique population of veterans we serve. She has often said she falls in love with a new hero every day and feels blessed to be able to meet such heroes daily -to be able to care for them to the best of her ability and still go home smiling!

Diane has been a member of AANA for 30 years and served on numerous committees in both regional or state associations and now AVANA. She serves on The Professional Practice Committee and APRN Council at the Pittsburgh VA. She belives the networking and work of AVANA is an invaluable asset for every CRNA in the VA system. It's a real gem and has encouraged other VA CRNA's to join this fantastic organization as a way to have your voice heard and to learn from others experiences.

Western Regional Director
Darla Bussey, MSN, RN, CRNA
Fresno, CA
Fresno VAMC
Darla Bussey graduated with an ADN in registered nursing in 1980 and quickly followed with a BSN from Metropolitan State College in Denver Colorado. After working for several years in ICU, she moved to California and began working as an O.R. nurse. Several years later, she decided to pursue a career in nurse anesthesia.

She graduated from Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia for Nurses in 1993 with a Master of Science in Nursing, Clinical Specialty Nurse Anesthesia from CSU Long Beach and began working in Los Angeles at Kaiser Sunset. After relocating to Fresno, she worked as a staff CRNA at University Medical Center (a local trauma center) for several years. She began working at VA Central California Health Care System in 2001 where she is Clinical Coordinator for the Samuel Merritt nurse anesthesia students.

Darla has been a member of AVANA since 2005 and is dedicated to educating others and protecting the practice of nurse anesthetists. She enjoys working with veterans and providing them with the best anesthesia care possible.

Angela Mund, CRNA
Executive Director
Angela Mund, DNP, RN, CRNA
Charleston, SC
Angela Mund, CRNA, DNP is the Anesthesia for Nurses Division Director/Program Director for the Medical University of South Carolina Anesthesia for Nurses Program. Dr Mund is a 1998 graduate of the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the Minneapolis VAMC and has over 10 years within the VA System. She was a member of the US Army Reserve from 1996-2006.

She received both her Master’s of Science in 1999 and a Doctor in Nursing Practice from the University of Minnesota. Dr Mund has lectured nationally on cardiac, health policy, and DNP topics. She authored a chapter on health care advocacy in a DNP textbook and testified at the US House of Representatives on recruitment and retention issues in the VA.

Dr Mund has been active in nurse anesthesia on the state and national levels: AVANA President 2007-2009; Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthesia Board of Director 2008-2010; South Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists Federal Political Director 2010-2011. She has served on multiple national AANA committees including Nominations, Resolutions, National Certification Exam Committee, and the Education Committee. She was SCANA federal political director and SCANA President 2012-2013