Na’Tasha Evans, PhD, MEd, is a researcher, published author, champion for female empowerment, and our new vice dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Learn more about her goals, her past work, and more in the following Q&A.
Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in research?
A: One of the primary driving forces behind my decision to pursue a career in research is my inherent curiosity for learning and problem-solving. Research provides a platform where I can explore these curiosities and embark on a journey of discovery. The opportunity to delve into various subjects, uncover new knowledge, and contribute to the advancement of scientific understanding is truly captivating to me.
Q: What are some examples of past work that you’re most proud of, and why?
A: One example of past work that am most proud of is founding and directing the Research and Education Collaborative for Health Disparities (RECHD). The purpose of the RECHD was to engage in transdisciplinary collaborative research and translational science that reduces health disparities and improves minority health while engaging in community-based participatory research, obtaining and working on grant-funded research projects, and training and educating future researchers, scholars, and practitioners.
Through the work in the RECHD, I have had the opportunity to establish meaningful collaborations and partnerships with local communities, listen and learn from their perspectives, and co-create knowledge that is relevant and impactful. Additionally, mentoring students at various academic levels was an incredibly fulfilling experience as well.
Q: What is your vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the UK College of Medicine?
A: My vision for the College of Medicine is to establish a transformative and inclusive environment where diversity, equity, and inclusion are not only valued but actively integrated into all aspects of our college. Together, we will build a community that celebrates our differences, embraces equity, and ensures that every individual has an opportunity to thrive. Through these efforts, we will strengthen our ability to provide exceptional and equitable health care, transformative research, and excellent education.
Q: What excites you about your role as vice dean?
A: I am excited about the transformative possibilities that lie ahead such as fostering inclusive environments, advancing equity, cultivating a culture and climate of belonging, collaborating with constituents, and impacting the future of health care. I am excited to make a difference in the lives of faculty, staff, learners, trainees, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Q: What are some of your hobbies, interests, and other professional work outside of your primary job?
A: One of my passions lies in writing, and I have had the incredible opportunity to author a children's book, women’s empowerment book, and a guided journal. The children’s book entitled, "Inspire Me! Everything I Can Be from A to Z," sparks children’s curiosity regarding different careers and educational fields that are not usually introduced in the K-12 settings. Most importantly, "Inspire Me! Everything I Can Be from A to Z" provides representation for Black and Brown children because children deserve to see representation in books, careers, and educational fields.
Outside of writing, I thoroughly enjoy planning women empowerment retreats, which is an extension of my women’s empowerment book entitled, "Warriors! Inspirational Stories of Women Who Fought to Find their Healing." Bringing individuals together in a meaningful and transformative way is something I find incredibly rewarding. It allows me to leverage my organizational skills and create memorable experiences for others.
When I'm not immersed in creative pursuits, you can often find me exploring outdoors or baking. All these activities not only enrich my life, but also contribute to my personal growth and well-roundedness.