MACON — An entire class of students from the Mercer University School of Medicine’s Master of Science in Anesthesia degree program will present research posters at the national meeting of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists in Denver, Colo., Aug. 3-7. Guided by Dr. Roy Russ, associate professor of pharmacology, and Dr. Michael Russell, assistant professor of physiology, the eight students, conducted research regarding pulmonary hypertension and ischemic reperfusion injury, which are significant complications of major surgery, particularly in lung transplantation.
The research was no ordinary student project conducted for a grade, but an opportunity for master’s-level students to make real contributions to the world of medicine. “This research project is aimed at improving storage procedures for lungs awaiting transplant,” said Russell. “We believe that increased tissue viability in our model may ultimately translate into improved survival for lung recipients.”
Program Director Eric Herrold, CRNA, MNA, added, “To my knowledge, we are the only certified registered nurse anesthetist program in the country that provides their anesthesia students with this unique opportunity of conducting bench research.”
The eight students comprise the inaugural class of the Master of Science in Anesthesia program that began in 2005. Upon completion of the program in December, the graduates will be eligible for certification as certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). These students are Jeff Cryder of Elberton; Joannie Greene of Bolingbroke; Bryan Justice of Knoxville, Ga.; Lisa Wallace of Warner Robins, and Jennifer Avant, Amanda Jones, Chrsity Madden and Adam Nauss, all of Macon.
A joint initiative between the Mercer School of Medicine and the Medical Center of Central Georgia, the nurse anesthetist program was developed to combat a nationwide shortage of CRNAs and is one of only two programs in Georgia. Since enrolling the first class two years ago, the program has added 19 students for a total of 27 CRNA candidates.
About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; teaching hospitals in Macon and Savannah; an educational partnership with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.