Local man to head state nurse anesthetist association

Special to the News Tribune
Kellon Smith

NEW CREEK—Kellon Smith, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) who grew up in Keyser and currently resides in New Creek, was recently introduced as the 2021-22 president of the 628-member West Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists (WVANA).

Smith, who is the chief CRNA at Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from West Virginia University in 2007; his Master of Health Sciences (MHSc) from Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 2012; and his Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) from Excela Health School of Anesthesia, Latrobe, in 2019.

“I’m truly excited to have the opportunity to serve as president of the WVANA,” said Smith. “Advocating for my fellow CRNAs throughout my home state is a very rewarding and challenging endeavor.”

CRNAs are anesthesia experts who practice in every type of healthcare setting where anesthesia is required for surgical, obstetrical, trauma stabilization and pain management procedures. Every year, more than 60,000 nurse anesthetists safely deliver over 50 million anesthetics to patients across the United States. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these airway experts have provided essential front-line services such as caring for patients in respiratory distress, operating ventilators and managing intensive care units (ICUs).

Smith is no stranger to WVANA operations and goals. He has served as chair of both the Pain Management and Government Relations committees and on the WVANA Board of Directors. As president, he intends to continue the organization’s mission of supporting CRNAs in their efforts to ensure that West Virginia patients have access to safe, cost-effective anesthesia care wherever they live.  

“My plan is to be a servant leader and ensure the entire board has a collective voice in our mission and our strategy. One of my goals is to increase member engagement in our board activities,” said Smith. “I also would like to increase activities for student nurse anesthetists on our board. I’m going to evaluate the addition of several student board positions to get student representatives involved in WVANA functions.

“Lastly, I want to increase our presence in the state capital,” he continued. “We have many needs and concerns relating to state legislative efforts. Maximizing our relationships with our state leaders is vital not only to CRNAs, but to the patients we serve.”

About AVANA

The WVANA is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing patient safety by supporting and furthering the practice of nurse anesthesia in West Virginia. It promotes and advances CRNAs’ practice and access to high quality care through member engagement, partnerships and advocacy.