During the 1970's, the need for highly trained nurse anesthetists was a growing concern in southern California. Joyce Kelly Ed D., CRNA and other visionaries at Kaiser Permanente took action and established the Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia (KPSA)

In 1972, Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia opened with its first cohort of 10 students. Joyce Kelly Ed.D., CRNA was the director and Dr. Robert Venrose, M.D. was the anesthesiologist medical advisor.

In 1978, Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia affiliated with California State University Long Beach. This was the first master level degree, Master of Science in Nursing with a clinical specialty of nurse anesthesiology, awarded in the United States.
The 1980s was a decade of recognition and new partnerships for the school. Dr. Joyce Kelly was the recipient of the AANA Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award in 1980. In 1983, Dr. Carol Franklin, M.D. became the second medical advisor for KPSA. Dr. Kelly and Dr. Franklin were instrumental in forging our first affiliate clinical site with the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego, California in 1988. This affiliate partnership paved the way for development of additional affiliate partnerships which continue today.
The next 25 years was an era of change for KPSA. Dr. Jack Goldin, M.D. became the anesthesiologist medical advisor from 1995-1997. Dr. Christine Whitten, M.D., was the medical advisor from 1997-2002. Dr. Joyce Kelly was honored as the second recipient of the Program Director of the Year Award by the AANA in 1993. John Nagelhout retired in December 2018 and Ed Waters took over as Director—and continues to hold that position today.

In 2000, KPSA changed its university affiliation from California State University Long Beach to California State University Fullerton. This collegial partnership has flourished throughout the years and continues presently. In addition, several awards were presented to our director emeritus and current director. Dr. Joyce Kelly was honored by the AANA with the Agatha Hodgins Award for Outstanding Accomplishment and Dr. John Nagelhout, Ph.D. was honored as the Program Director of the Year by the AANA.

Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia was proud to become affiliated with the Braille Institute in 2005. This is, yet, another partnership that continues today.

The curriculum at KPSA continued to evolve with the creation of the Simulation Lab in 2006. The state-of-the-art lab has been an integral part of the curriculum since it's development.

Medical advisement underwent several transitions over the years. From 2008-2013 Dr. Thelma Korpman, M.D., MBA was the medical advisor. Thereafter, Dr. Alex Chin, M.D took over the position and remains the medical advisor today.
In 2007, Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia was proudly awarded a 10-year accreditation through the Council on Accreditation on Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs in 2007. This accreditation affirms the high quality of education our students receive.

The outstanding education that KPSA offers was an impetus for the Kaiser Permanente Anesthesia Technologist program. In 2010, Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia, in conjunction with Pasadena City College, accepted their first anesthesia technician class. The program is the first associate degree anesthesia technician program in the country, and its first class graduated in 2011.

Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia is committed to lifelong learning and, in 2012, supported the Southern California Doctor of Nursing Practice Consortium with offering the post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Its first cohort graduated in 2014. In fall 2018, the KPSA program instituted the 3-year entry into practice BSN-DNP, graduating its first class in 2021.

Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia has become the leader in nurse anesthesia education. We are proud to have graduated highly educated, highly trained, highly skilled and highly professional certified registered nurse anesthetists. To date, KPSA has educated half of all CRNAs in the state of California.