Newswise — The American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA) Foundation posthumously awarded Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Virginia A. Gaffey, CRNA with the Rita L. LeBlanc Philanthropist of the Year Award during the AANA 2023 Annual Congress, held August 18-22, in Seattle.  

This award, established in 2006 by the AANA Foundation, is presented to an individual who represents the spirit of Ms. LeBlanc and has gone beyond the call of duty as a supporter of the AANA Foundation. 

In addition to her service as AANA president from 1969 to 1970, Gaffey was recognized throughout her career for her many achievements to improve healthcare delivery. She is a recipient of the Louise de Marillac Award at Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Mass., the 1999 Fitchburg State Distinguished Alumna Award, and the 1982 AANA Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award. She became an AANA Foundation “Friend for Life” in 2004 through a bequest in her will and, thanks to her foresight, left an incredible legacy of a $1.3 million scholarship endowment that will support students pursuing nurse anesthesiology.  

Gaffey graduated from Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Mass. in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Burbank Hospital Nursing Program, also in 1955. She received her nurse anesthetist training at Carney Hospital School of Anesthesia and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and served as director of the Carney Hospital Program from 1957 until 1986. She also served as chair of the Professional Advisory Board of the Milton Visiting Nurses Association.

“Ms. Gaffey is a legend in nurse anesthesiology that spent her lifetime advocating for the profession she so loved. Through this incredible gift to the AANA Foundation, her legacy will continue to inspire new CRNAs for generations to come,” said AANA Foundation Chair Stephen Finder, DNP, CRNA. “The AANA Foundation Board of Trustees is posthumously awarding the Rita L. LeBlanc Philanthropist of the Year award in honor of her service to the nurse anesthesiology profession and her prolific generosity.”