TUBA CITY -- Joseph Engelken has been named the new Chief Executive Officer of the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC). He assumed the position on Oct. 31.
"We're extremely pleased to have Joe on board," said Interim Chief Executive Officer Scott Deasy, M.D. who will return to full time duties as a Clinical Director at the hospital. "He's an innovative, energetic and very people-oriented person who will be a healer in the finest sense of that tradition."
Engelken, 57, was most recently CEO of a community hospital in Onaga, Kansas that faced many of the same challenges confronting TCRHCC, including a geographically dispersed population spread over four counties, and a complex administrative structure involving multiple constituencies.
"I'm excited by what can be done to make a reality of 638 self-determination," said Engelken upon accepting the position. "In talking with the staff, Board, and patients I heard a deep commitment to excellence as well as self-determination. It's an inspiring commitment, and I feel honored to be offered an opportunity to be part of that."
The new Chief Executive Officer is no stranger to rural reality. Engelken grew up on a family farm with 12 brothers and sisters, making consensus building "a survival necessity, not an academic exercise," he says. Engelken has a Master's degree in public administration from the University of New Mexico, and has previously served the Navajo Nation while working in the New Mexico public health system.
Engelken is a shirt-sleeve administrator, though medicine is far from an academic exercise for him. A former Ford Fellow, Engelken has been an emergency medical technician and an epidemiologist, so he has an insider's knowledge of medical care and its delivery.
The health facility's new chief also has three horses and plays guitar, reflecting his wide-ranging interests. Engelken's wife, Susan, is a physician who will move here after completing a stint in a Tucson medical practice. Their daughter, Adrian, is a music student at the University of Arizona.
"I want to involve the community more often and more directly in setting and achieving their health care priorities," Engelken said. "Real self-determination means starting now to plan for the next generation by finding ways to help the community's youth become the doctors and nurses, dentists and therapists and other healthcare providers of the future."