Latinx Month 2021

Liliana Palacios, BSN ’16, is a second-year Doctor of Nursing Practice (Family Nurse Practitioner) student who serves as the President of Western Washington National Association of Hispanic Nurses (WW-NAHN). 

As President, Palacios works closely with co-founder and past president Ellie Marsh BSN ’13 Bothell and MN ’15 Seattle on WW-NAHN’s mission of eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities affecting Latinx communities and populations in Washington state. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the Latinx community. According to the Latino Center for Health, while 13% of the state’s population is Latino, they make up 31% of the COVID-19 cases in Washington state. Understanding the great need, WW-NAHN focused on working with their community partners to set up three vaccine clinics for the Latinx population.  

“These clinics helped with some of the vaccine hesitancy among the Latinx community by having nurses from Latinx  backgrounds answer and address their concerns, rather than from a nurse who was not from the same background or could not speak the language,” said Palacios.  

Palacios also provides student support to members who are aspiring nurses. Palacios herself was a recipient of one of the first WW-NAHN student scholarships as a nursing student and she ended up serving on the scholarship committee. WW-NAHN provides the opportunity to financially support students and to connect them with people of similar backgrounds.  

Another important piece of her work with WW-NAHN is driving engagement with community health workers. WW-NAHN works with Las Conectoras Comunitarias Latinx en South King County to connect their community to resources such as food mercados or COVID-19 vaccines.  

“I am most proud of our work with them. We empower them to execute their work that they feel is important to the community, for example, most recently is the COVID vaccine clinics,” said Palacios. 

As a second-year Doctor of Nursing Practice, she hopes to do primary care mainly with the Latinx community and continue to work alongside community partners like Las Conectoras Comunitarias. 

“I worked at Harborview and did a lot of work with the Latinx community especially with COVID-19. I saw the need for more of a diverse and reflective provider and this reinforced my goal to work with the Latinx community as a primary care provider,” said Palacios.

Palacios hopes to step into the role as a racial health equity advocate as a family nurse practitioner to contribute to the change needed for systemic level health changes and support. 

-Kristine Wright