You can now call her ‘Captain’ Leah Cullins

Since her days in high school, Southern University School of Nursing Assistant Professor Dr. Leah Cullins says she always wanted to be a member of the Air Force. And, she always wanted to help people.


Instead of the military, she became a Family Nurse Practitioner. Her passion has been her involvement in the battle against the rising tide of HIV/AIDS in Baton Rouge, especially in the African-American community.


But recently, the 33-year-old Baton Rouge native decided it was time to fulfill her dream. She enlisted in the Air Force National Guard. Her education and experience in the nursing profession – 11 years as a nurse, seven of which as a nurse practitioner – zoomed her up to the rank of captain.


And, just a few days ago, she received her tailored uniform and captain bars.


Cullins is a member of the Air Force National Guards: Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Enhanced Response Force Package (CERFP).


The official mission of CERFP is to provide immediate response capability to the governor including: incident site search capability of damaged buildings, rescuing trapped casualties, providing decontamination, and performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize patients for transport to medical facilities.


“Essentially I will do search and rescue and give medical treatment,” Cullins said, adding that her deployment can be immediate. “We can be deployed anywhere in Louisiana 24-7.”


Cullins said she began training in December and “training is never-ending.”


Besides her role at Family Nurse Practitioner, Cullins also serves as a nurse representative from the Louisiana Nursing Association on the governor’s HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis C Commission.


“As a nurse, I feel my duty is to give back,” she said.