Roulla’s advice to new graduates is “take time to listen and get your hands dirty.” That advice helped Roulla throughout her time as an MHA graduate student, throughout her healthcare career and continues to help her today.
Alumna Roulla Nau MHA ‘08
Roulla Nau MHA ‘08 is the Milken Institute School of Public Health representative for the George Washington Alumni Association (GWAA) board. Appointed by Dean Goldman, Roulla will be creating a greater awareness of alumni engagement opportunities within the school’s alumni communities and helping to establish a lifelong engagement between the school’s alumni body, school’s student body, and the university.
Roulla’s involvement at the school stems from a desire to help current and future healthcare leaders and is magnified by her pride in her alma mater. Her breadth of healthcare experiences, combined with an energetic and analytical approach to problem solving, has led her to make positive impressions in each position she has held. As an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. Her professional experiences started at Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, where she held several different positions. Through those roles, she grew more excited about being a healthcare leader and made the decision to attend Milken Institute School of Public Health. As a Master of Health Administration student, she took on leadership roles within the school, helped drive alumni programming, and completed a strategic planning internship at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD.
Roulla maintained that vigor after graduation when she landed her first job in Wichita, Kansas as a Business Development Consultant for Via Christi Health, the largest provider of health care services in Kansas. She established herself in the local community by providing business development and quality improvement strategies to Via Christi Health but also by volunteering in the community and at local hospitals.
Making her way back to Washington DC, she returned to the Milken Institute School of Public Health as Residency Director. In this role, she worked with over 100 students mentoring and advising as they started their field experiences. She enjoyed working for the school and the ability to impact students’ lives; combine that with her significant experience and leadership, she received an adjunct faculty appointment to teach in several online programs.
Roulla’s healthcare journey continued to Columbia, South Carolina where she continued to serve as adjunct faculty at the school and also took on a new role, Meaningful Use Coordinator, at South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Meaningful Use (MU) programs emphasize improving quality, safety, efficiency and reducing health disparities by using a certified electronic health record technology. Roulla successfully created, executed and managed MU processes; and developed the infrastructure and resources for the agency and hospitals. Her role and responsibilities included leading acute care and critical access to hospitals to achieve the MU public health requirements.
Roulla’s advice to new graduates is “take time to listen and get your hands dirty.” Early in her career, she found observing staff and patients allowed her to better manage and lead processes. She explains that the teams she supported valued the time she spent learning and working alongside them. Spending time working with the front line staff gave her a great perspective and appreciation for the work they do, and built relationships based on respect.
In addition to Roulla’s BS and MHA degrees, she is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. She has received the following awards: University of California San Diego’s Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Diversity Award in 2004, The George Washington Alumni Award 2008, and the 2014 Young Alumna of the Year for the Milken Institute School of Public Health's Department of Health Services Management and Leadership (now Health Policy and Management Department).
Roulla is excited about the opportunity to represent the Milken Institute School of Public Health and serve as the voice for the school’s alumni, offering input on the development of new alumni engagement initiatives while continuing to grow the mission of the GW community.