Ep 95: Courage to Lead – 1994-95 AANA President Mary DePaolis Lutzo, CRNA, PhD  

Our leadership series continues with a look back to the 1990s with former AANA president  Mary DePaolis Lutzo, CRNA, PhD. That decade featured many heated battles for CRNAs and she was right in the middle of it during that 1994-95 year in office. Today we look back on all the strides the AANA took over that time period, including a transition onto the internet.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

Our last few episodes in our presidential leadership series have focused on recent years in the AANA so now it’s time to turn back the clock and take it to the 1990s.

Our guest today is Mary DePaolis Lutzo, CRNA, PhD, who served as the AANA president in 1994-95. When she was voted in, it marked the first time the organization had doctoral prepared president. And it’s a good thing she had years of training because anesthesia and the healthcare environment were “heated” to say the least when she took office.

At the time, there were 25,000 CRNAs giving 65% of the 26,000,000 million anesthetics and changes were occurring on all fronts. There were managed care organizations forming throughout the country. CRNAs were being shifted from traditional hospital employment to private groups under new working arrangements. The TEFRA regulations were causing barriers to CRNA practice. Then you had the distrust issues between the AANA and ASA that were causing chaos within anesthesia departments.

That doesn’t even cover everything but it gives you an idea of everything facing her and the talented board of directors that served with her. That group would include four future AANA presidents so leadership wasn’t hard to find during this time.

On this episode of the Beyond the Mask podcast, we will cover all of these issues and challenges facing Mary DePaolis Lutzo and the AANA. It was a busy year (and decade) and it even included the move to get the organization onto the internet. Imagine that. After providing anesthesia for 47 years, she retired from anesthesia to focus on mental health counseling,  which she still does in Florida.

Here are some of the other topics we will cover on the show:

  • The transition after being president.
  • How she ended up in mental health counseling
  • Becoming the first doctoral prepared AANA president
  • Why the 90s were so heated.
  • Her talented Board of Directors
  • The Ask Me About Anesthesia media campaign
  • How she began the AANA archives
  • The first uses for the internet within AANA
  • Time capsule stored away 25 years ago.

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

3:21 – Sharon welcomes in Mary DePaolis-Lutzo

4:36 – Her background in the profession 

8:30 – Her experience when moving to Florida.

11:35 – Fellowship in human sexuality

13:46 – Getting her doctorate.

16:09 – What was going on when she became president 

19:08 – The theme for her year

20:23 – She had an amazing Board of Directors

22:32 – Highlights from her year as president.

26:01 – Establishing the AANA archives

28:23 – Changing the regional director structure

30:56 – Utilizing the internet early on

34:37 – Valuable leadership lessons learned

36:02 – The message she has for new CRNAs


“I really never thought of becoming the president of AANA. I just spoke for our people. I spoke for the PANA and for members that I met along the way.”

-Mary DePaolis Lutzo, CRNA, PhD





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J. Cross CRNA
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