Join us in welcoming Tabitha Underwood, Ph.D., who recently joined the UofL Health – Quality team as the system manager of community engagement.
In this role, Tabitha manages community engagement across our organization and ensures we meet all IRS and Affordable Care Act requirements for community benefit. She works with a team to support engagement and outreach efforts, track our interaction with the community, conduct community health needs assessments, implement engagement strategies at each of our hospitals and monitor the outcomes of all efforts.
Tabitha takes pride in working for an organization that puts patients first. To live out our mission, she focuses on how the needs of our patients translate to the needs of our community and implementing programs to see health and wellness success in and out of our hospitals.
“As a community psychologist by training, I put a great deal of focus on the individual patient component of our mission. To me, being patient-centered means understanding the whole patient in the context of the community, thereby gaining a better picture of what affects their health and wellbeing,” explained Tabitha.
Through her new role, she hopes to see our organization be better connected to the people we serve to provide greater care.
“My goal is to see UofL Health utilizing its strengths to be actively involved in addressing the root causes of poor health and working with the community to break down the barriers that create health disparities,” Tabitha shared.
Now that summer is here, Tabitha enjoys tending to her garden and trying to grow new vegetables and herbs. If you have any tips and tricks that work well for your garden, give her a shout. She says she still has a lot to learn but enjoys the experience.
Tabitha grew up in Bruceville, Ind., and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Indiana University (go Hoosiers!). She later earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in community psychology from North Carolina State University.
Since then, Tabitha has sparked a passion for creating a sense of community within her own neighborhood.
“I enjoy interacting with our neighbors and finding ways to bring us all together,” Tabitha said. “While in graduate school, most of my research was centered on how residents build a sense of community where they live. I’ve tried to implement those strategies in the neighborhoods in which I’ve lived.”
In her spare time, Tabitha loves sitting down with a good book. She claims to have too many favorites to name but has recently been reading Deadwood. She considers this book a lucky find because she stumbled upon it at a Little Free Library while on vacation.
Tabitha has a taste for all things savory. Her all-time favorite dish is beef stroganoff, but she has recently discovered the deliciousness that is the tomato gravy and biscuits at Big Bad Breakfast.
She lives by the theory of interdependence, meaning your behavior affects the outcomes of others and vice versa. She makes it a priority to consider how her actions impact those around her.
If you catch Tabitha in the hall, be sure to say “hello” and introduce yourself. She would love to get to know you!