Teaching the next generation has always been a noble pursuit. At the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Timian Godfrey, DNP, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, has taken on the responsibility of educating the next generation of nurses. Timian’s healthcare background spans nearly 20 years with experiences as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, Registered Nurse, and an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. Even alongside her faculty role, Timian still maintains as a APRN with TribalHealth LLC.
Timian currently teaches for the DNP-FNP specialty and is directing two federal grant projects which aim at diversifying the nursing workforce. Being in a faculty position has allowed Timian to collaborate with the Arizona Area Health Education Centers and the State Office of Rural Health to partake in policy related activities, particularly related to the Native Nations of Arizona.
Being of Native American descent and a member of the Navajo Nation herself, Timian understand the need for her work to amplify the voices of communities that are underrepresented in nursing, as well as the Native Nations of Arizona. Working with the community to address these issues helps make sense of why there are problems to begin with.
“Often I find the community members hold the answers to solve issues related to workforce shortages and health inequities. In academic nursing and research, we have to capture this knowledge and make sure it is incorporated and valued in our work.”
Listening to the stories of community members, one thing becomes clear for Timian; “Diseases don’t create health disparities, social determinants create health disparities.”
It is important that the students Timian teaches grasp this concept early on. Recognizing the conditions of one’s background helps determine the level of care a patient needs. Social factors can be changed, which opens the door to transform education, research, healthcare, and policy to achieve true health equity.
Timian’s work goes beyond being an educator. She also works as the Initiative Chair for the Arizona Indian Area Health Education Centers (AHEC). In this role, Timian has created and passed legislation to create the first AHEC for Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Timians Policy work does not stop there however. She also advocates for Indigenous Land Acknowledgements to be included in course syllabi and student handbooks, and directs two federal grant programs.
As if all of that was not enough to fill her plate, Timian is also at work on her PhD dissertation focusing on culturally adapting a social support diabetes intervention with a Native Nation in Arizona.
The work Timian is doing as an educator, nurse, and policy advocate sets a great example for the students lucky enough to be under her tutelage.
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