Inside NKU: Why NKU? What inspired you to come here?
Dr. Tataw: The University’s interest in the community and in providing leadership in the health care industry regionally and more importantly, the interest in engaging the community and the industry were very attractive to me. The region itself was interesting in that you have this tristate area, Indiana, Ohio, and northern Kentucky all in one. We serve a community that is bigger than the state, so we engage at a high level of humanity. Training professionals, meeting the need for health care providers in different regions of the country, and focusing on disadvantaged communities is part of my lifelong work. So the opportunity to continue this kind of work is what brought me here.
Tell us a little bit more about your lifelong work with people.
Dr. Tataw: My research and service focus on community health, health policy, management, collaboration, and partnerships. The emphasis is largely on disadvantaged communities. It is how to help those who are not advantaged. How do you get them forward and make sure that their needs are met? The US health care system is a very complex, and it is more complex to the disadvantaged communities. So that is what my passion has been. I spend a lot of my time with the disadvantaged and helping them get to college and pursue health sciences careers. We don’t get disadvantaged people from rural and urban America inside health science careers. It is always difficult for them to get these opportunities themselves, so that is why I have focused a lot of my work to both get the disadvantaged into careers and into the health care system. I have been there for more than 20 years, helping these communities and schools.
What can NKU do to help you in that life work?
Dr. Tataw: NKU is so community-engaged. I was still in New Jersey when I read that the president was taking the lead in a community walk. He said, ‘Everybody come with me.’ He is looking into the community and we are part of the community. We draw from it and we give to it. The College of Health Professions has the Nurse Advocacy Center for the Underserved which focuses on our disadvantaged communities. The College also has a Nursing and Inter-professional Collaborative Center that is jointly run with community providers and, of course, the foundation is a community focus. There is already a network in place so we just need to push ahead. The cultural and structural infrastructure are already there. I just need to latch onto them and bring what I know and what I can do for the community in the long term. You will not have trouble with people in authority here. They want you to be out there in the community and see what is going on in the community as part of your interest. I have been to schools where I had to reach out to the community and understand it by myself because at the end of the day, the students have to go back to the community and live there.
Tell us about your first days at NKU.
Dr. Tataw: Great! I am meeting so many people.
Do you have any initial goals you’d like to reach quickly in your new role?
Dr. Tataw: As the associate dean, I will carry out the priorities of the college. I know that complete engagement with the community is at the top of our priorities and is one of the first things we are doing. We need to get additional support to enhance community engagement that has been ongoing for years. I plan to be engaged.