From an alumna — Natasha Pineda

natasha pineda
from an alumna
Reflect. Change. Nourish. These are my three words for 2021. Everything has changed over the past year: the way we live, the conversations we have and our visions of tomorrow. No doubt the future will be different than we imagined it to be 12 months ago. We have been pulled into unknown territories, each of us challenged in different ways. Rapid change and daily unknowns have been, and still are, taxing on our minds and bodies. Some days can feel like months’ worth of challenges. This rapid shift in the way we process information, make decisions and respond as professionals, family members or community members has exhausted many of us.

As I reflected on the pressures, the needs of my home and family became paramount. I know I was not alone. Many of us have had to step into a hard contemplation about what mattered most to us. I had to let go of my preformed conceptions of what my life should be like. We are reflecting on the way things have been, the collective losses and gains, readying for change, even as it happens. We need to make space to nourish ourselves, so we have the energy and stamina for the continued journey to bring our communities through this.

UAA-educated leaders are placed in roles throughout this state, on the frontlines and as executive decision makers. Each of us must take the steps necessary to support each other, push each other to step into hard conversations about equity, racism and structures that are holding us back from ensuring a vibrant life is available to all Alaskans. The network of UAA professors, students and administrators can be that team we need to push forward the change.

Dr. Gabe Garcia and Dr. Tom Hennessy are two professors who inspired and pushed me during my UAA Master of Public Health program. In different ways, they changed how I approached learning and my understanding of why I was pursuing my degree. When the pandemic started, they both answered my call for support without hesitation. It is this connection to our community and the way we show up for each other that will ultimately guide us to the new future. Together we can support each other through this next phase of change, by tapping into our gifts and sharing them with each other.

Natasha Pineda Signature
Natasha Pineda, M.P.H. ’15
Director of Accountable Care, Providence Health and Services Alaska