Main content
Federal grant to nursing school preparing nurse anesthetists for service in underserved communities
Media Contact
Melanie Kieve
Senior Director of Communications and Marketing
Kelly Wiltse Nicely and Russ Branch observe CRNA clinical simulations

Kelly Wiltse Nicely and colleague Russ Branch observe CRNA clinical simulations.

The Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing has received a grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to participate in its Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Program, to prepare Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) for service in rural, urban and tribal underserved communities.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are highly skilled, advanced practice nurses licensed and certified to administer anesthesia for surgeries and other medical procedures.

The program will provide scholarships for Emory CRNA students to gain clinical experience in diverse and underserved areas in the Southeast. During each year of the four-year grant, the School of Nursing will provide data to HRSA on how many program participants took jobs in the same areas upon graduation. Approximately 60 Emory CRNA students will participate in the program.

Kelly Wiltse Nicely

Kelly Wiltse Nicely

“This program will give students experiential learning opportunities in health equity, culturally competent care and social determinants of health,” says Kelly Wiltse Nicely, PhD, CRNA, FAANA, FAAN, primary investigator on the grant and director of the Emory CRNA program. “It will allow for meaningful connections between the communities we serve and the students who will soon be the providers in those communities.”

In addition to training, the program will continue to enhance diversity within the profession by incorporating underrepresented minority students, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those intending to assume roles in areas facing health professional shortages.

Erica Moore

Erica Moore

The program’s overarching goal is to expand opportunities for CRNAs, especially new graduates, to make an impact in underserved areas, says project lead Erica Moore, DNP, CRNA, who serves as assistant director of Emory’s CRNA program.

“Nurse anesthetists contributing to these communities play a crucial role, frequently acting as the primary anesthesia provider or one of a limited number, emphasizing the significance of their expertise and the diversity they bring to their representation,” Moore says. “We are excited to be a part of this grant, which will make a difference among our students and the communities.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration is estimating it will provide more than $142,000 in funding for the program.

The Health Resources and Services Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents of HRSA-supported grants are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, the Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. government. For more information, please visit

About the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing  

As one of the nation’s top nursing schools, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is committed to educating visionary nurse leaders and scholars. Home to the No. 1 master’s, No. 3 BSN and No. 6 DNP programs nationwide, the school has been recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League of Nursing. The school offers undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and non-degree programs, bringing together cutting-edge resources, distinguished faculty, top clinical experiences and access to leading health care partners to shape the future of nursing and impact the world’s health and well-being. Learn more at

Recent News