Dr. Theresa L. "Resa" Culpepper, director of Samford University's nurse anesthesia clinical program, died Feb. 9 following a year-long battle with cancer. Services were scheduled Feb. 11 at Liberty Baptist Church in Chelsea, Ala., where she and her family were active members.
Dr. Culpepper was one of the founding faculty members of the nurse anesthesia degree program in Samford's Ida v. Moffett School of Nursing in 2003, and directed the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) clinical program.
"In 2003, Dr. Culpepper joined the IVMSON and Samford University to assist in the re-establishment of the nurse anesthesia program," said Samford nursing Dean Nena F. Sanders. "Her expertise as both a nurse educator and practitioner was invaluable to the establishing the program and achieving accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
"There is no way to measure the long-lasting impact of Dr. Culpepper's contributions to nurse anesthesia education and practice," said Dean Sanders. "Her legacy will continue to live through the anesthesia practice of hundreds of students who benefitted from Dr. Culpepper's expertise as an educator, clinician and professional leader. The true measure of her impact will be in the lives of patients who her graduates will touch through their practice as nurse anesthetists."
Sanders said Culpepper's charismatic personality and ability to personally connect with anyone and everyone she met will be sorely missed.
"Resa was an inspirational mentor to so many nurse anesthetists in the Birmingham community and a national leader in our profession," added Dr. Mary C. Karlet, chair of the nurse anesthesia department.
Culpepper was a practicing CRNA for 38 years, and taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before joining Samford. She was active in several regional and national professional organizations and was widely published in her field. She was also a highly-sought speaker and conference leader.
The Samford nursing school recently established the Resa Culpepper Award for student professionalism in the CRNA program, and presented the first award to a graduating senior last fall.
Culpepper was a native of Charlotte, N.C. She is survived by her husband, Milton, her sister, Sherry Helms, two step-daughters, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggested memorial gifts to the scholarship fund, Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing CRNA program, Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229.