Nurse policy expert to deliver School of Nursing’s spring 2024 commencement address

A bagpiper leads CWRU nursing faculty and students during graduation procession

Colleen Leners, DNP, FNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, the Chief Health Officer at 1st Call HEALTH, will deliver the 2024 spring commencement address on May 18.

photo of Colleen Leners

Leners received her doctor of nursing practice (DNP) in leadership from Case Western Reserve’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

A veteran of the United States Army Nurse Corps, Leners has many notable achievements, including a Bronze Star for service overseas. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

"We’re delighted to have an expert on policy like Dr. Leners be our commencement speaker, especially at a point when policy decisions being made today will make a profound on health outcomes in communities across the country,” said Carol M. Musil, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, Dean and Edward J. and Louise Mellen Professor of Nursing at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. “Dr. Leners, with almost four decades of experience as a nurse practitioner, is a leader in helping nurses be advocates for the health of our nation. Our graduating students will be inspired by hearing from her."

The spring 2024 commencement ceremony will be held May 18 at the Maltz Performing Arts Center.

1stCallHEALTH provides veterans’ health care and telehealth primary care to the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) region. Leners was formerly the director of policy at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in Washington D.C. where she led advocacy efforts related to nursing education, research and practice. The AACN has long served as the voice of academic nursing, encompassing education, research, and practice.  

Leners was selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow in the office of Senator John Thune (R-SD) of the Senate Finance Committee. She also served as a traumatic brain injury program manager and created a nurse-managed primary care clinic for Wounded Warriors at Navy Medical Center San Diego. 

Leners serves on the board of Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR), Case Western Reserve Alumni Board and is Region 3 director for the AANP.  

She received her Masters of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, from the University of San Diego and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University Dominguez Hills.