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Military CRNAs Lead the Fight against COVID-19

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are battle-tested providers, joining all our military’s medical personnel deployed in the fight against COVID-19.

Nurse anesthetists have been the main providers of anesthesia care to U.S. military personnel on the front lines since World War I, and remain the primary anesthesia providers in austere combat theaters. In fact, CRNAs most commonly are the only anesthesia providers in the military’s forward surgical teams.

It is no wonder then that CRNAs are back on the frontline and on active duty fighting against the global COVID-19 pandemic. CRNAs provide high-quality, safe care, even in the most stressful and emergent situations.

In America’s epicenter of the viral infection, the anesthesia department at the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS) consisted of 27 CRNAs who worked with medical providers from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, addressing the health-care crisis striking New York City.

Among those at JNYMS was U.S. Navy Cmdr. Joe K. Blair, CRNA, MS, NC. Blair is a 2005 graduate of the Allegheny School of Anesthesia/La Roche College School of Nurse Anesthesia in Pittsburgh, and was featured in a video showcasing the military operations of CRNAs working at the medical station:

“It has been noted frequently what a difference the CRNAs have made in the care the patients have received in the ICU,” Blair said. “Our vast ICU experience with our current anesthesia training made us supremely adapted to function in the capacity that we took on in this situation.”

The Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists and all of our CRNAs and students salute Cmdr. Joe K. Blair and the military medical professionals like him from all of the uniformed services who are bravely and proudly serving our country in its national response to COVID-19.


Jamaica-native, U.S. Army Reserve Capt., supports Temple University Health health care workers​



Video by Master Sgt. George Roach

Defense Department Support to FEMA COVID-19

U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Yakeba Allison, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), attached to Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force 352-1, is supporting Temple University Health health care workers in the fight against COVID-19 in Philadelphia, Pa., April 29, 2020. UAMTF 352-1 is augmenting civilian medical staff at six Philadelphia-area medical facilities in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 response. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army video by Staff Sgt. Adrian Patoka, 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

For more information on this story, please contact 1st Lt. Kara Crennan at

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