After an extensive search with many impressive applicants, we are excited to announce that Erin Herrera, CRNA, has been selected as the inaugural Associate Vice Chair for Well-Being in the Department of Anesthesiology.
Since January 2020, Ms. Herrera has been the Assistant Director for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA) Activities. In this role, she has demonstrated her commitment to the well-being of her fellow CRNAs through her work in helping to develop the onboarding and orientation processes, the competency review system, and the performance evaluation system. She has also shown leadership and thoughtful attention in her contributions to the remediation programs tailored to the needs of struggling professionals.
Ms. Herrera has a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia and is a clinical CRNA specializing in cardiothoracic anesthesia. She has advanced experience in the anesthetic management of complex cardiac patients, heart and lung transplantation, and she has both the sophistication and procedural skills required to care for these challenging patients in the perioperative period. She has also honed her clinical expertise related to state-of-the-art technological adjuncts, including mechanical heart failure support devices. She teaches cutting-edge clinical management at the Goldfarb School of Nursing in the SRNA training program and the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Continuing Education Program.
Ms. Herrera is engaged in clinical leadership and has a central role in recruiting new CRNAs, organizing site visits, recruitment events, and interviewing candidates. She helps design and implement staffing models, analyzing and coordinating staffing among many of our hospitals, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, Progress West Hospital, Barnes-Jewish South County Hospital, and the Washington University Orthopedic Center.
Currently, Ms. Herrera is pursuing a master’s degree in organizational psychology. She brings a critical understanding of recruitment and retention, as well as experience in navigating the challenges of clinical service, leadership, family, and proficiency in programming with the intention of building connections so valuable to shared purpose and well-being. Having been at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital since she was a patient care tech prior to nursing school, Ms. Herrera brings a love of the institution and contextual awareness, driving her ability to develop and implement innovative programs in the department. Notably, she is strongly committed to all four missions of our department and our medical school.
Of relevance to her exceptional qualifications for a cross-departmental leadership role, Ms. Herrera has expanded her roles and contributions beyond exclusively CRNA-focused activities. For example, she was centrally involved in the institutional efforts to build a collaborative culture in the POD-3 operating suite, and participated as a TeamSTEPPS lecturer and steering committee member in 2018. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has devoted much time and energy to the department and has been a major contributor to the COVID-19 Executive Task Force for Clinical Operations. She has spearheaded the development of hospital-wide COVID-19 protocols and has restructured staffing models to accommodate rapidly shifting clinical challenges arising from the pandemic. Building on her prior TeamSTEPPS contributions, Ms. Herrera is now poised to coordinate the PIA SAFE (Peers In Anesthesiology Supporting A Fair Environment) program.
In this new Associate Vice Chair role, Ms. Herrera will work closely with the Vice Chair for Professional Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and will lead departmental well-being efforts. We fully expect that her expertise, experience, and perspective will prove invaluable in her leadership in this area, which is so critical to the department and our members.
We look forward to working closely with Ms. Herrera in her new role.
Scott D. Markowitz, MD
Vice Chair for Professional Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (PDDEI)
Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA
Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology
Head of the Department of Anesthesiology
Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, Barnes-Jewish Hospital