Beverly Silvis, CRNA, MS, MBA, DNP, Director
Dr. Silvis joined the Excela Health School of Anesthesia staff in November 2009 as assistant director. She received her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981, a MHS from La Roche College in 1994, an MBA from Seton Hill University in 2008, and earned her DNP from Chatham University, Pittsburgh, in 2010. She served as the chief CRNA for Excela Health Frick Hospital in Mount Pleasant for 13 years. Dr. Silvis is also an adjunct faculty member at Saint Vincent College teaching Research, Leadership, and Professional Aspects.
Most recently, Dr. Silvis was named Program Director of the Year by the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She was nominated by students in the program with a supporting letter of recommendation from the Excela Health Office of Medical Affairs, which oversees the school. The letter from Associate Chief Medical Officer Carol Fox, MD, read in part "Her commitment to and passion for education is unparalleled ... She has spent a great deal of time identifying potential improvements for our clinical teaching locations and her attention to enhancing our curriculum to better meet the education needs of our adult learners has been very well received." The letter also noted her efforts to move the program from master's preparation to doctoral certification, all while maintaining the clinical practice in additon to her role as educator and mentor. The school is conducted in cooperation with Saint Vincent College.
Michael A. DeBroeck, CRNA, MHS, DNP, Assistant Director
Dr. DeBroeck joined the Excela Health School of Anesthesia as the education coordinator in October 2008. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, 1985. In 1996, he was awarded a Master of Health Science (Anesthesia) degree from Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth. Dr. DeBroeck received his Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Robert Morris University in 2011. He retired from the Air Force in 2005, where he held many anesthesia positions including director of anesthesia and director of perianesthesia services. His clinical experience includes a large amount of regional anesthesia in independent anesthesia settings as well as anesthesia in austere environments during deployments. Most recently he was employed as a CRNA at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital where he helped design the new anesthesia record, which is being used throughout the Excela Health system. He currently teaches Physics, Advanced Theory, Practice of Anesthesia, and Introduction to Principles of Anesthesia, and is a member of the Admissions Committee.
Susan M. Tranchine, CRNA, PhD, Education Coordinator
Dr. Tranchine is a graduate of the Excela Health School of Anesthesia and is a practicing CRNA with the University of Pittsburgh Physicians and Western Pennsylvania Anesthesia Associates. Having earned her MEd and PhD, Tranchine served as Director of Anesthesia Services at Citizen's General Hospital and Mercy Jeannette Hospital. In addition to her administrative and clinical duties, she has experience as an expert witness in anesthesia litigation and as a peer review consultant.
Meet the Adjunct Faculty
Howard Armour, CRNA, MS
Armour is the former Program Director of the Excela Health School of Anesthesia, a position he held for nearly 30 years. A graduate of St. Francis School of Nursing and the UPMC School of Anesthesia, he received a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in counseling from California University of Pennsylvania. He has co-authored two books, chemical dependency articles for PANA Tidings for several years, and a booklet on the Physics of Anesthesia. He is the recipient of the PANA Program Director of the Year - 2003, and the 2004 Sister Marie Fiest Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching from La Roche College, Pittsburgh. As past president of PANA, he has served on several state and national committees, is a U.S. Army veteran, and has served as a member of the Military Intelligence.
Deana Guastaferro, CRNA, MHS
Guastaferro knew she wanted to become a nurse at age 3 when her grandmother taught her how to administer insulin injections. She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh and worked in intensive care at UPMC Shadyside. Following a traveling nurse assignment in California, she returned home to continue her education with the Excela Health School of Anesthesia and received her Master's of Health Science degree from Saint Vincent College. Employed by the Western Pennsylvania Anesthesia Associates, she is a staff CRNA at Excela Westmoreland Hospital.
Renee Harvey, CRNA, DNP
Dr. Harvey graduated from Westmoreland-Latrobe Hospital School of Anesthesia in 1996 and is a staff CRNA at Uniontown Hospital. She also served as Uniontown Hospital's clinical coordinator for the School of Anesthesia for many years. She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree from Robert Morris University in May 2011.
Charles McCombs, CRNA
McCombs is a graduate of the Westmoreland Hospital School of Nursing, the Westmoreland-Latrobe Hospital School of Anesthesia and California University of Pennsylvania. His career spans 17 years as a CRNA at Latrobe Hospital, 20 years as chief. Beyond his teaching in the classroom and clinical setting, McCombs and fellow faculty member Howard Armour provide refresher training throughout the United States to prepare student nurse anesthetists for the national certification examination. Active in the anesthetists' professional organizations, he has held various elected positions in the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists and served as a Peer Assistance Advisor for impaired CRNAs. A frequent lecturer at the local, state and national level, McCombs is particularly interested in the Civil War and the origins of modern anesthetic.
James Wasnieski, CRNA
A lifelong Pittsburgh resident, Wasnieski earned his Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Health Science degree from La Roche College. The 2005 graduate of the Excela Health School of Anesthesia is employed at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital and considered a trauma/transplant specialist in nurse anesthesia. A frequent guest lecturer, he is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and an Iraq war veteran. Beyond his service in Iraq, he was deployed to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he practiced solo anesthesia. He is a representative to the bioterrorism committee at UPMC Presbyterian.
Meet the Saint Vincent College Faculty
James G. Barnet
As a professor of biology, Dr. Barnett completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Animal Physiology at the University of California. A former research fellow with the National Researcg Council/National Aeronautics and Space Administration, he came to Saint Vincent College in 1982 to teach biology. His research interests include skeletal muscle biology and exercise physiology.
Bettie A. Davis, PhD
As assistant professor of chemistry, Dr. Davis is the coordinator for the Excela Health School of Anesthesia affiliation. She received her bachelor's degree in biology from James Madison University followed by a master's and doctoral degrees in pathology from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to her time at Saint Vincent College, she worked for the Virginia State Health Department Laboratories in mycobacteriology, mycology, serology and virology. She has taught at all college levels from community colleges and four-year liberal arts colleges to graduate school and medical colleges since 1989.
Daryle H. Fish, PhD
Dr. Fish is an associate professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College. He graduated from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He joined the SVC faculty in 1992 and teaches a number of courses related to organic chemistry. His research interests in clude chemincal education, medicinal chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry.
Stephen Jodis, PhD
Serving as the Dean of the Herbert Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing, Dr. Jodis was employed for 21 years at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., where he held numerous leadership positions. He is a graduate of Auburn University, Ala., with degrees in computer science and engineering. His research interests have varied across the years from software transportation systems and software development environments to software metric, computer science education, and, most recently, cyber security. Dr. Jodis has participated in several National Science Foundation review panels. He has also served as an ABET evaluator (ABET is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology) for the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) and is currently an ABET-CAC Commissioner.
Michael E. Rhodes, PhD
An associate professor of biology, Dr. Rhodes is a graduate of Saint Vincent College and Duquesne University with advanced degrees in Pharmacology. He has served as a postdoctoral research fellow at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, with continuing employment in the Department of Medicine as a research professor. At obtained additional fellowship training at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Over the past 17 years, he has taught numerous pharmacology courses at Carlow University, Duquesne University and Saint Vincent College. His laboratory focus encompasses sex differences and cholinergic regulation of stress-responsive hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortical axis. He has published more than 35 peer reviewed, scientific articles, reviews, and book chapters, and has presented his findings at over 45 conferences. He holds a U.S. patent.
Michael Sierk, PhD
Dr. Sierk received his doctoral degree in biophysics from the University of Virginia and subsequently pursued postdoctoral research there before coming to Saint Vincent College in 2005. He is a member of the Chemistry Department and directs the Bioinformatics Program.
John J. Smetanka, PhD
Dr. Smetanka has been a member of Saint Vincent's full time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean. The Latrobe native earned his bachelor of science degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University, a master of science and doctoral degrees in astronomy and astrophysics fromt the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the staff at SVC, Dr. Smetanka served as Vice President for Research and Development for On Target Mapping, a Pittsburgh-based software company specializing in the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). As part of the Math and Science Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Dr. Smetanka has taken part on a number of local workshops through the partnership as well as at the National Academy of Sciences on the evaluation and implementation of best practices for undergraduate science and mathematics education. The recipient of many honors, he has authored/co-authored many publications and presentations.