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California Association of Nurse Anesthetists
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CANA Member-Owner Spotlight

Rabbi Wynne R. Waugaman
PhD, CRNA, FAAN

Where do you currently practice?
I am retired from my faculty position at the University of Southern California (USC) and am currently Professor Emerita. In 2016, I graduated from the Academy for Jewish Religion-California with a M.A. in Rabbinic Studies and was ordained as a rabbi. This year I worked as the Director of Cultural Education at Adat Chaverim, the Humanistic Synagogue of LA. I currently conduct life cycle events and lead synagogue services upon request.

What are your favorite cases or anesthesia specialty?
My favorite anesthesia specialty was education and administration. Throughout my career I had the opportunity to direct nurse anesthesia programs at Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh, The Ohio State University, UCLA, and USC. When in clinical practice, my favorite case was a ruptured aortic aneurysm. Nothing like the thrill of an adrenalin rush!!

What is the most rewarding part of being a CRNA?
The most rewarding part of being a CRNA is educating the next generation of CRNAs and seeing them go from nervous novice to confident expert. Nothing has made me more proud than all my graduates and their respective achievements.

What are your passions outside of work?
My passion is my rabbinic practice. Once again I have the opportunity to see people experience the wonder of education and learning.

Is there any research, thesis, practice projects, missions, or other anesthesia related work you would like to share with our community?
I have developed a passion for Jewish history particularly during the Holocaust. My rabbinic thesis examined a nearly forgotten plan to settle the then territory of Alaska with European Jews prior to US involvement in WWII. This topic became a fictional counterfactual history serving as the subject for Michael Chabon’s novel, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” Little scholarly information existed on this topic prior to my work, “The Alaska Resettlement Plan: The Miracle that Didn’t Happen for European Jews (1936-1941).” My thesis serves as the basis for a new museum exhibit to open in Summer of 2017 at the Anchorage Jewish Museum examining the role of Alaska during WWII.

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