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UCLA Celebrates Many Contributions of Charles A. Griffis, CRNA, Ph.D.July 22nd, 2011
Charles A. Griffis, CRNA, PhD, retired on June 29, 2011, after 32 years of association with UCLA and a host of outstanding accomplishments. After earning a BSN, magna cum laude, at the University of South Florida, and working in critical care nursing, Dr. Griffis enrolled in UCLA Masters Program in Nurse Anesthesia in 1979, completing the program in 1981. He began working at the UCLA Medical Center and in private practice, until he took the reins as Director of the UCLA training program from 1985-87. By 1991, the program had moved to Olive View Medical Center and thence, to the University of Southern California. Dr. Griffis continued his avid teaching and support of the USC Masters program to the present day, and additionally became active in the Nurse Anesthesia Masters Program of the Kaiser Health System. For both programs he assisted with the didactic lectures, as well as serving as a consistent clinical preceptor in the UCLA operating suites and procedure areas. Dr. Griffis is a popular educator with his trainees. At the time of his retirement, he held an academic appointment at UCLA as Associate Clinical Professor, and served as Assistant Administrative Director of Nurse Anesthesia, in the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology.
Academically, Dr. Griffis continued his interest in human subjects’ research subsequent to his Masters’ thesis project, “Effect of Naloxone on Exercise Hyperpnea”, in Susan Ward, PhD’s respiratory studies laboratory. In 2005, he achieved his PhD in Nursing with Margaret Compton, RN, PhD, as his thesis advisor, for his work entitled, “Effect of Pain on Leukocyte Cellular Adhesion Molecules”, performed in human volunteers in the UCLA Clinical Research Center. On August 8, 2010, at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Annual Meeting, Dr. Griffis was awarded the “John F. Garde AANA Researcher of the Year” award from the AANA Foundation, in recognition of his research in the area of neuro-immune responses to pain in human subjects. In addition to his many lectures on anesthesia-related topics, as a result of that work, Dr. Griffis then developed lectures to his portfolio regarding the impact of the perioperative period on the immune system. He has published several research articles and a number of review articles, case reports, editorials, and abstracts of meeting presentations, as testimony to his activity to improve the specialty beyond the borders of UCLA.
Dr. Griffis is a popular and respected lecturer within UCLA, as well as at local, regional and national meetings. In addition to educating anesthesiology clinical personnel on a host of pertinent topics, Dr. Griffis has been outstanding at offering his time to lecture to UCLA nursing staff at both the Westwood and Santa Monica campuses in units such as preoperative evaluation, critical care, procedural preparation units, recovery rooms, etc. about topics ranging from the pharmacology of anesthetics and sedatives, to evaluating patients for suitability for sedation or anesthesia, to managing post-anesthetic complications, and so on. His lecture style is very informative and encourages the students to learn the material. Most recently Dr. Griffis helped the Santa Monica OR recovery nurses prepare for their certification examination in peri-anesthesia nursing, which was very appreciated by the entire team.
Dr. Griffis has served his colleagues with numerous committee responsibilities for the California Association of Nurse Anesthetists, including representing CANA to the California Board of Registered Nursing. He served on the Examinations Committee for national Council for Certification of Nurse Anesthetists, as well as on the Editorial Advisory Board for the AANA Journal. Dr. Griffis has now accepted a role at the national level for AANA regarding reducing risks of iatrogenically acquired infections for patients undergoing anesthesia and perioperative care.
The UCLA Department of Anesthesiology is very proud to have had Charles Griffis, CRNA, Ph.D., as an esteemed member of the Department, not only for his excellent clinical patient care, but for his educational and research interests and talents, and for his many appreciated professional contributions. We will continue to have his presence and contributions on a part-time “recall” basis, and his important help strengthening infection prevention practices in our Department.
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