Dr. Jeffrey J. Hatala
Dr. Jeffrey J. Hatala is an assistant professor and program director for the WT Health Sciences program at the RELLIS campus in Bryan, TX. He is responsible for recruiting, curricula and student engagement in the program.
Dr. Hatala has earned a PhD in Health Services Policy and Management and a Masters of Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina, and has completed graduate coursework as part of a public health certificate from the University of Colorado. His work spans multiple areas. His initial work included obesity prevention and is expanding his research portfolio to include increasing and strengthening public health workforce and organizations. He also participated in and led community health needs assessments with rural hospitals in Texas and he has also conducted evaluation studies for military and rural organizations.
Dr. Hatala has taught courses in public health, health quality, health policy, health management, problem solving and decision making, health systems, strategic planning and marketing. He has run both practicum and capstone experiences, and, in doing so, has worked with state, local and national organizations to create student projects to add value to these organizations. Dr. Hatala also serves with the Brazos County Health Coalition and has served or is serving on the boards of directors for the United Way of the Brazos Valley, and the Texas Rural Health Association.
Dr. Thena Parrott
Dr. Parrott is a long-time nurse educator, who has taught baccalaureate, vocational, and associate degree nursing programs, as well as in staff education. She was educated at Baylor University (1972), Texas Woman’s University (1989), and Texas A&M University (1993). Primarily a critical-care nurse in her clinical background, Dr. Parrott also worked in a variety of other clinical settings in hospital and home health. She has presented and published on a variety of topics through the years, and is active in her community on a variety of boards and other organizations. Her areas of research interest have been in cardiovascular nursing, near-death experiences, teaching strategies, nursing history, and substance abuse in nursing.
Derek Kennedy, MS, has found his way back to WT. In his newest role, he serves as a Program Recruiter and Instructor for the West Texas A&M University Health Sciences program at the RELLIS campus. Previously, he served the US Army as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist and the Athletic Department for West Texas A&M University. He graduated from West Texas A&M in 2021, earning Graduate Student of the Year. His research focuses on hip extensor development for sport performance, in conjunction with its role in improving quality of life.