2017 Tillman Scholar

Leilani Attilio

The George Washington University

“Closing the gap in ideologies can be achieved with dignity, respect and compassion at the foundation.”

Service to the community is the driving force in Leilani’s career. As a child she remembers watching her mom meet patients each morning for their daily dialysis. Her mother’s compassion and commitment to service inspired Leilani to enroll in nursing school. While an Army ROTC cadet, September 11th occurred and Leilani was committed to preserving the hope and security that is the foundation of the United States. This also included protecting the dreams of her parents who emigrated from the Philippines. Leilani served in the military to show gratitude for the country and people who welcomed and supported her parents. As an Army Nurse Corp officer, Leilani was a critical care nurse and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After leaving the military, Leilani became a public health nurse and found her passion working with underserved communities on drug policy. But Leilani felt a call back to the clinical world when she recognized the stigma people with drug addiction face in healthcare. Leilani enrolled in George Washington University’s Family Nurse Practitioner program to become a primary care provider. Her goal is to provide healthcare for marginalized communities and to leverage her position as a family nurse practitioner to advocate for drug policies directly impacting her patients.  She hopes to train new nurses to hone their clinical skills and educate them on policy and advocacy so they may become change agents. By working in drug policy, clinical care, and education, she aims to bring positive, sustainable changes on how we deliver healthcare.