AANHPI Heritage Month 2024: Meet TANA Member Leilani Herbert—Clinician, Clinical Education Coordinator, Native Hawaiian

CRNAs from USAP at Williamson Health in Franklin, TN, from L to R: Arnold Agbunag, CRNA; Leilani Herbert, CRNA; and Jun Balmaceda, CRNA, Clinical Education Coordinator for MTSA SRNAs

Leilani Herbert, a CRNA who works for U.S. Anesthesia Partners (USAP) at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee, says she gets ribbed for the Hawaiian pattern on the radiation safety gear she wears at work. “But everyone knows whose lead it is, so they better not be caught wearing it!” she laughs.

The current chair of the TANA Leadership Identification Committee, Leilani is proud of her Native Hawaiian heritage. “My name alone sparks many discussions with patients about their travels to Hawaii,” she says.


After graduating from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, in 1999, Leilani worked for 11 years at Centennial Heart Center in Nashville. In her current position at Williamson, she works with “a great group of fellow CRNAs and anesthesiologists doing a wide variety of cases” and is also the CRNA Education Coordinator responsible for putting together bimonthly continuing education programs.

L to R: Lauren Birmingham, SRNA (MTSA); Jun Balmaceda, CRNA, Clinical Coordinator; Abigail Katniss, SRNA (MTSA)

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after I became an RN, but the challenge of the ICU was a draw,” Leilani explains. “When I started working in the cardiovascular ICU, my fellow RNs kept leaving to go to CRNA school. The more I looked into it and talked to others, the more interested I became. I thought that would be an incredible opportunity and career.”

She says the most rewarding aspect of her career is being able to alleviate a patient’s anxiety in the holding area, get them safely through their procedure/surgery, and have them be comfortable and stable in the PACU. “That might sound rather simplistic,” she admits, “but it’s fundamental.”

During Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (May), what message would Leilani impart to a fellow Native Hawaiian about a career in nurse anesthesia? “I would 100% support any AANHPI interested in becoming a CRNA and tell them it is worth the difficult journey!”

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