Newswise — Park Ridge, Ill. – The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) presented Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Jose Delfin Castillo III, PhD, MSNA, CRNA, APRN, with the 21st Ira P. Gunn Award for Outstanding Professional Advocacy during its 2021 Annual Congress, August 13-17. 

The Ira P. Gunn Award was established in 2000 to recognize the accomplishments of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists or non-CRNAs who are involved in overcoming legislative, legal, and regulatory challenges to nurse anesthesia practice rights.  The recipient of the award receives recognition by peers as a person who has made an important contribution to the advancement of nurse anesthesia practice rights.

During his leadership as president of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA) from 2019 to 2020, Castillo led a robust campaign to remove supervision language from Florida legislation. Castillo was at the forefront of FANA outreach, authoring op-ed pieces, conducting media interviews, and participating in a press conference at the Florida Capitol. Under his hands-on leadership, FANA was awarded the 2020 AANA Award for Excellence in State Government Relations Advocacy.

Castillo currently is an independent CRNA practitioner in the Naples, Florida area. He also is an assistant professor of nurse anesthesia at Texas Wesleyan University.

Before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, during the 2020 legislative session, Castillo helped organized a “tide of white” at the Florida Capitol as the CRNA representative on several nursing coalitions including the Florida Coalition of Advanced Practice Nurses (FLCAPN), Florida Action Coalition, and others. He ensured several CRNAs visited to educate Floridians and legislators on how CRNA independent practice can benefit the state’s healthcare system.

“During these active times in Florida’s Capitol, seeing the hope, motivation, and passion of every APRN in the state fueled every fiber of my being,” Castillo said. “As we continue to work on towards benefiting Florida’s residents, I look forward to standing side by side my APRN and CRNA colleagues.”

According to his nomination, as president, Castillo “[is dedicated] to protecting and advancing the CRNA profession while also inspiring others to do the same.” Others cited his work during the COVID pandemic to ready the state for ICU overload. “Castillo worked with the Florida Department of Health to identify a ‘lead CRNA’ in each county in Florida to identify which freestanding surgery centers could be used as ICUs in the case of overload of the local hospital systems during the COVID pandemic.  This included ventilators on anesthesia machines training and proper transport methods.”

A CRNA since 2007, Castillo earned his doctoral degree in instructional design and technology from Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and his Master of Science degree from Wolford College in Naples. He earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing from West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, Philippines.