Newswise — The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) Foundation presented Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Brooklyn A. Castilla, CRNA, with the Advocate of the Year Award during the AANA 2023 Annual Congress, held August 18-22, in Seattle.  

The Advocate of the Year Award, established in 2006 by the AANA Foundation, is presented to an AANA Foundation advocate or supporter for outstanding commitment to the nurse anesthesiology profession through both individually supporting the AANA Foundation and encouraging others to do the same, or advocating for the profession in a magnanimous way.  

Castilla is currently a CRNA at MountainView Regional Medical Center in Las Cruces, N.M. She graduated in 2022 from Newman University with a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia. During her time at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas, she was an AANA Foundation Student Advocate. These students serve as liaisons between the Foundation and each student’s respective nurse anesthesia program. They share information about the Foundation with their student colleagues including general information, and dates and deadlines for Foundation events, scholarships, and awards. 

“Brooklyn set the bar very high for student advocates by reaching into national, state, and local arenas during her student years,” said Wilma K. Gillis, CRNA, APNP, FAANA, in a letter nominating Castilla for the Advocate of the Year Award. 

Among her peers, Castilla is known for working to increase knowledge and spread awareness of the AANA Foundation by creating a sticker fundraising campaign. At the 2022 AANA Annual Congress, AANA Foundation Student Advocates received stickers to pass out to fellow students and CRNAs as a conversation starter about the Foundation. The campaign asked them to pick a sticker for their favorite laryngoscope blade — identifying themselves as “Team Mac” or “Team Miller.” The stickers had QR codes to donate to the AANA Foundation on the back, and any donation amount would earn a sticker. Her fundraising campaign raised more than $8,000 for nurse anesthesia education and research. 

“Receiving the Advocate of the Year award has been very humbling for me,” Castilla said. “I am incredibly grateful for the CRNAs and Resident Registered Nurse Anesthetists (RRNAs) who accepted my idea and ran with it! Team Mac vs. Team Miller could not have been a success without the care and excitement of other individuals. This award has encouraged me to continue my involvement with organizations and spur others on because we are most successful together.” 

Now that she’s graduated, Castilla continues to serve the Foundation as a member of its Scholarship Committee. She is also transitioning into a state advocate role in New Mexico. In addition to her Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia, Castilla earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Oklahoma Christian University. 

“She is not only a skilled practitioner of nurse anesthesiology, but she is a passionate advocate for our profession,” said Megan Cook, DNAP, CRNA, former program director of the Newman University Nurse Anesthesia Program.