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TU couple follows medicine, law to rural Oklahoma

Natasha Bray (BS ’99) and husband Matt (BS ’99) are accomplished professionals who built their careers with TU degrees. The couple met while attending the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics and married as undergraduates in the TU College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. Matt is a native of Muldrow, Oklahoma, and earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. Natasha, the daughter of a family physician in Enid, has always loved science, math and physics. She merged her interests into a biology/pre-med degree while participating in the Honors Program with Matt.

“I was pushed to read and explore outside the science field,” Natasha said. “TU’s classic liberal arts education offered opportunities for the arts, reading, history and interaction with people beyond my scope of study.”

natasha brayNatasha graduated from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2003 and completed an internship in Philadelphia. She served as the chief intern physician at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Matt worked in telecommunications at Williams but decided to transition into a new career. He attended Harvard Law School while Natasha joined the Cambridge Health Alliance and completed a residency in internal medicine, performing critical care rotations at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“Our patients were from different neighborhoods and ethnic groups,” she said. “It was a good place to train and learn.”

In 2006, the Brays moved to south Florida where Matt began practicing law with the international firm Hogan Lovells. Natasha accepted a teaching position at Nova Southeastern University and worked as a hospitalist, seeing patients every three to four weeks in the Broward Health System. Natasha was named director of medical education at Broward Health and worked to expand the system’s 16 residency programs, which included orthopedic surgery, pediatrics and cardiology. She also earned a master of science in medical education while at Nova. The work was a fun and challenging assignment, but she and Matt had always wanted to return to their home state.

In 2014, Natasha was asked to help launch an osteopathic program for the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. As associate dean, she assisted in structuring the program’s curriculum, developing clinical rotations and consulting on accreditation and building design. Her office in western Arkansas allowed Natasha, Matt and their two sons to relocate to Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.

“We worked really hard to get our boys into an environment centered on health and family,” Natasha said. “We want them to experience nature, our values and a service mentality.”

In late 2016, Natasha lived up to her community mission by returning to the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine as a clinical associate professor in rural health based in Tahlequah. Much like many of the programs she has developed at other institutions throughout her career, she started from scratch creating programs to translate OSU’s programs in different parts of the state. She practices osteopathic internal medicine at a clinic in Muldrow while making sure OSU’s curriculum translates from its main campus in Tulsa to outlying, rural areas.

“I focus on training physicians for rural environments and to work within the tribal healthcare systems across the state,” Natasha said. “Medical education presents an opportunity to support patient care while ensuring we are developing critically needed healthcare professionals to address the health disparities within the state.”

Matt also has adapted his legal career at a large firm to small town life by opening his own practice in Muldrow. Matt and Natasha share a deep commitment to service within the community. The couple enjoys running and other outdoor adventures.