Faculty Review Panel

Meet the faces behind eNonymous.

Anesthesia eNonymous is a project of the VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia, the nation’s top-ranked program for nurses who wish to become a CRNA, and CRNAs who wish to pursue an advanced doctoral degree. With this site, we seek to expand our open-door policy in our department at the College of Health Professions building in Richmond, Virginia out into the world, and provide a place for practitioners to learn, research, and become a better healthcare professional.

Nicole Damico, PhD, CRNA, CHSE

Nicole “Nickie” Damico, PhD, CRNA, CHSE is an Associate Professor and the Vice Chair for Academic Affairs. Dr. Damico has held a faculty position at VCU since 2010, initially as the Director of Professional Practice. She teaches numerous foundational courses on the Principles & Practice of Nurse Anesthesia and a Patient Safety Seminar course. Dr. Damico currently chairs the admissions and curriculum committees in the department in her role as Vice Chair.

Dr. Damico is a proud alumnus of the VCU Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia program, class of 1999. She also holds Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Philosophy in Health Related Science degrees from VCU. She is a practicing anesthetist at Bon Secours/Mercy Health St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian, VA. Dr. Damico’s research interests include mechanical ventilation in the anesthetized patient, diversity in nurse anesthesia education, and the use of innovative instructional technology in didactic education. Outside of work, Dr. Damico enjoys spending time with her busy family of five, tending to her small flock of Buff Orpington hens, and is (slowly) working back into a routine of regular running.

Michael D. Fallacaro DNS, CRNA

Michael D. Fallacaro, DNS, CRNA, FAAN is a tenured full professor and Director of Special Projects. Dr. Fallacaro received his BSN from D’Youville College, Buffalo, New York in 1977, a BS in Anesthesia from George Washington University, Washington D.C. in 1981 and his MS and Doctorate in Nursing Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1984 and 1994 respectively.

Dr. Fallacaro was the Chair of the VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia from July 1998 until January 2019. He also served as Co-Director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has authored and co-authored nearly 40 journal articles, book chapters, and research abstracts in publications such as the AANA Journal, the American Surgeon, the Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. Recognized as a committed academician, he has lectured across the nation on topics relating to human factors and patient safety, the anesthesia workforce, and doctoral education. In addition, his professional achievements include securing more than 2.25 million dollars in grant funding for healthcare related training and research with emphasis on the medically underserved in and amongst the coalfields of Appalachia. He also served as CEO of Nurse Anesthesiology Faculty Associates, a CE division in the department. Dr. Fallacaro is a two-time past Chair of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Education Committee, past Chair of the AANA Foundation and past member of the New York State Board for Nursing and Past President of the New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists. He serves as a Educator Director on the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Dr. Fallacaro is one of the original founders of “Comprehensive Nurse Anesthesia Associates,” a locum tenens nurse anesthesia company in Western New York. In 2015, he was named as a  Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, joining more than 2,400 nursing leaders who make up the academy.

Dedicating more than half of his 40-year career as a CRNA to anesthesia education and research, Fallacaro was also honored as the 2008 Researcher of the Year by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation.

Chuck Biddle PhD, CRNA

Chuck Biddle, PhD, CRNA arrived at the VCU campus in August of ’99 as Professor and Director of Research. His basic nursing education was obtained at the University of Southern Colorado, after which he went on to obtain his anesthesia education, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. While teaching at the University of Kansas’ Graduate Program in Nurse Anesthesia he obtained his PhD (emphasis areas: research methods and epidemiology) and in 1992, assumed the role of Chief Nurse Anesthetist at Dartmouth Medical School and Medical Center in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Brenda Wands, PhD, MBA, CRNA, CHSE

Brenda Wands, PhD, MBA, CRNA, CHSE is an assistant professor and Director of Interprofessional Education and the Post-Master’s DNAP program at Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Nurse Anesthesia. Dr. Wands is a nurse anesthetist with Virginia Commonwealth University Health in Richmond, Virginia. Her research interests include patient safety, ethics, and adult education.

L. Harold Barnwell, III, DNAP, CRNA, CHSE

L. Harold Barnwell, III, DNAP, CRNA is an Assistant Professor and the Assistant Director of Education in the Department of Nurse Anesthesia at VCU. Dr. Barnwell joined the department as an affiliate faculty member in 2015 and transitioned to full time faculty in 2017. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University, Master of Science – Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degrees from VCU, and is currently enrolled in VCU’s PhD in Health Related Sciences program. Dr. Barnwell is a practicing anesthetist with the VCU Health System. His research interests include: perioperative brain health, ultrasound applications in anesthesia, modernizing education for the next generation of learners, and international collaboration of nurse anesthetists. In his spare time, Dr. Barnwell enjoys exploring the outdoors with his wife, Ashley, and three daughters, Teagan, Tate Rose, and Taryn.

Jiale (Gary) Hu, PhD, RN

Jiale (Gary) Hu, PhD, RN is an Assistant Professor and Director of Research and Global Outreach in Department of Nurse Anesthesia Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Clinical Medicine from School of Nursing Shanghai Jiaotong University in China and a Doctoral Degree of Philosophy from School of Nursing University of Ottawa in Canada. He used to work as an anesthesia nurse in China and developed the first Chinese nurse anesthesia education program recognized by the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists. His overall research and teaching interests lie in knowledge translation in health care settings, particularly in anesthesia and pain management. He has obtained one patent, published 26 English papers, one French paper, and 62 Chinese papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited one book chapter and one book, and provided nearly 20 oral presentations and more than 30 poster presentations in international, national or local conferences.