MUSC to participate in new pilot program with Case Western Reserve University to increase diversity in the CRNA workforce

Jessie Bradley, MBA
May 26, 2021

The MUSC Anesthesia for Nurses program is participating in a new pilot program with Case Western Reserve University. The program aims to diversify the CRNA workforce through outreach efforts to underrepresented minority students and other individuals hoping to become more competitive applicants for CRNA doctoral programs. Upon completing the one-year certificate program offered by Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, students will be eligible to apply for and be guaranteed admission to one of the four partner universities. More than 100 students have already applied to the certificate program, and MUSC hopes to welcome two students from the first cohort next year. Angela Mund, director for the Division of Anesthesia for Nurses, stated “MUSC is so excited to be a part of this amazing new program to develop, mentor, and support the next generation of CRNAs.”

May 11, 2021

Contact: Mike Scott

Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University offers new certificate program

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist pilot program is innovative collaboration among four universities; aimed at reaching wider range of students

CLEVELAND—Students who otherwise might not get a chance to earn the degree necessary to work as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are getting a better shot, thanks to an innovative program at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University and four partner schools.

The new pilot program was designed to reach two groups of potential students: those who have been previously rejected from an accredited CRNA doctoral program or those who know their current skills and qualifications do not meet current program standards and want to become more competitive applicants

The program also aims to diversify the CRNA workforce by specifically reaching out to underrepresented minority students.

Nurses who eventually complete their CRNA degree will likely find a healthy job market: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 45% increase in demand for CRNAs in the next decade.

Multi-institution collaboration

This new endeavor, the Leadership Excel and Achievement Program (LEAP), is a one-year certificate program that concentrates on science, understanding the professional role and scholarship.

It is part of the Nurse Anesthesia Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Case Western Reserve, but is also being offered concurrently at four affiliate institutions: Columbia University, Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the University of Arizona.

Graduates who complete the one-year certificate program will be automatically enrolled in one of the five institutions’ doctoral-level CRNA programs.

Sonya D. Moore, CRNA program director and assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, said she was inspired to encourage and support nurses who have demonstrated academic success and the motivation to enter the field of nurse anesthesia.

“LEAP is a way for nurses who want to become a nurse anesthetist, have a strong work ethic and passion for nursing, but who may benefit from a focused preparatory program,” she said. “The field of CRNAs is still fairly narrow. Through this initiative, we hope to bring a broader student audience to nurse anesthesia. Awareness and knowledge will drive the profession forward.”

Moore said more than 100 students have already applied to the program.

“I believe the robust number of applicants is reflective of the competitiveness of traditional programs,” she said. “Also, the motivation of the applicants to achieve their goal is very apparent.”

Carol Musil, dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, commended Moore for “spearheading this groundbreaking collaboration to create a new pathway to a career in nurse anesthesia. All of the programs involved are thrilled to see this initiative take off and expand the field and practice of nurse anesthesia to a new and more diverse generation of nurses.”

Each of the five universities has agreed to enroll at least two of the student participants after completing LEAP. Students must agree to attend the affiliate program that admits them following their successful completion of the certificate program.

Kristie Hoch, program administrator for the nurse anesthesia specialty at University of Arizona’s College of Nursing, said she’s excited to be part of LEAP’s trailblazing endeavor.

“We often discuss ways to help students efficacious in attaining admissions to our programs, achieving academic success, and accomplishing the steps to graduate with a doctoral degree,” Hoch said. “The LEAP program provides not only a pathway, but faculty mentorship to attain this realization.”

Case Western Reserve University is one of the country's leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.