GPNA’s Dr. Castillo brings home Ira P. Gunn award

Dr. Jose Castillo won the Ira P. Gunn award in early August at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) annual meeting.



In August, assistant professor of Texas Wesleyan’s Graduate Program of Nurse Anesthesia (GPNA), Dr. Jose Castillo was awarded the Ira P. Gunn award by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).  

The award demonstrates outstanding professional advocacy and is usually given to an individual who exemplifies the values and perseverance of the past president of AANA, whom the award is named after. 

Castillo sees the accomplishment as inspirational, not only for the lasting impact that it leaves on GPNA, but also for the students who are enrolled and invested in the program.  

As a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) himself, Castillo understands the importance of helping students achieve their goal to become certified in nurse anesthesia. 

“We are helping all our students realize their dream and at the same time, we are providing this capable, competent, proficient, certified registered nurse anesthetist or nurse anesthesiologist to the communities that really need them,” he said. 

Castillo is also the president of the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (FANA) and said that a lot of the work that got him to win the award was thanks to his team in Florida and their push for legislation as an independent practice. 

Associate program director and assistant professor, Dr. Tito Tubog recounted some of the highlights of Castillo’s efforts that made him noteworthy of being nominated for the award. 

“Dr. Castillo worked with the Florida Department of Health to identify lead CRNA in each Florida county to determine the needs of the community,” Tubog said. “When there were issues with the need for ventilators for people with severe COVID who were struggling to breathe, he coordinated a lot of that stuff.” 

Tubog said the Texas Wesleyan GPNA are very honored that Castillo got the award, because it is a national award, and anesthesia providers look at previous awardees in the U.S. 

“I just want the community to know that we have somebody who is on our campus that has obtained a national award that talks about legal battles with the practice that we have, the rights to practice, and not only that, but he was very instrumental in Florida,” Tubog said. 

Program director and associate professor, Dr. Terri Kane agrees with Tubog. She said the award reinforces Castillo’s students and colleagues in what they believe in as aspiring or current nurse anesthetists. 

“This award is about advocacy and reaching out. It’s about helping the public as a whole. That’s one of the things we should be called to, as nurses and nurse anesthetist, but it’s something that we should be called to just as human beings, that we try to help other people,” Kane said. 

Kane said she thinks the award says something about the kind of faculty that can be found at Texas Wesleyan, a place that gives as much opportunity as it does educational activities to participate in. 

“I think it says a lot for this profession, nurse anesthetists are out there on the frontlines advocating for public health, education and awareness and are just trying to serve,” Kane said.