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Biography: Celeste Villanueva

Celeste Villanueva, CRNA, MS
Director, Program of Nurse Anesthesia
Director, Health Sciences Simulation Center
Assistant Professor
cvillanueva[at]samuelmerritt[dot]edu
(510) 869-8924

Celeste Villanueva received baccalaureate degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, and in Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco. Her Master of Science degree with a specialty in Nurse Anesthesia is from Columbia University.

Celeste's nursing career began in 1980 with five years of critical care experience before she became a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Her clinical experience has been primarily in major medical centers in New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. She was chief nurse anesthetist at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center when she officially launched her career as a nurse anesthesia educator at Samuel Merritt University (SMU). She has been a core faculty member in the Program of Nurse Anesthesia since the program's inception in 1994, serving as a site clinical coordinator, the associate director, and, since 2004, the program's director.

Not surprisingly, Celeste's introduction to healthcare simulation came as a consequence of her anesthesia experience, since anesthesia providers were the field's acknowledged pioneers. She began actively integrating high-fidelity, manikin-based patient simulation into her teaching in 2001, and has incrementally expanded her own expertise and that of her faculty through courses in simulation, mentoring by Bay Area experts, and the continuous addition of simulation-based methodologies into the Program of Nurse Anesthesia curriculum.

In 2005, Celeste represented the faculty on the SMU team that designed and built a simulation center on the campus. It was this experience that crystallized Celeste's passion for simulation-based learning. In2006 she was appointed director of the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC). In this position, her focus is to ensure the maintenance and growth of the facility and its staff through administrative oversight and advocacy.

Celeste is committed to ensuring that the HSSC provides every learner with the highest quality of immersive educational experiences. She is actively involved in the hands-on delivery of simulation-based teaching sessions, and she works directly with colleagues across professional disciplines on curriculum integration and faculty development strategies. She has the privilege of working with a creative, cohesive group of colleagues whose enthusiasm for simulation is infectious.

Celeste is active in the simulation community at a regional and national level. She serves on the Advisory Committee of the Bay Area Simulation Collaborative, the Simulation Alliance Task Force (a subgroup of the Simulation Alliance created by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare), and the Simulation Work Group, which was established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She frequently speaks at conferences and facilitates interactive simulation demonstrations and workshops.

She authored the book chapter entitled "Simulation in Nurse Anesthesia Education - Practical Approaches to Curriculum Integration" for A Resource for Nurse Anesthesia Educators, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA Publishing, Inc., August 2009).