It’s hard to imagine a house without a TV in it, but that’s the case for Akron Children’s Hospital’s new child psychologist, Tanya Hartman, PhD. Instead of watching TV, she’d rather immerse herself in a good book or whip up something delicious in her kitchen.
Ironically, Dr. Hartman’s favorite chef, Julia Child, was best known for her TV cooking show, as well as her witty personality. Child once said, “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”
And, for Dr. Hartman, that’s exactly what she’s doing as a pediatric psychologist at Akron Children’s.
Grew up in: I grew up in Cleveland Heights with my parents and 3 sisters.
Family: I am the mother of 2 teenagers.
Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid? The endless wonder of everything. When you’re a child, every experience is new and exciting. I miss that continual feeling of amazement.
What did you want to be (profession) when you were little? Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought until I was in middle school. I was asked to be a part of a peer counseling program; the first of its kind in the state. We were trained to be ‘peer therapists’ within the context of a drug and alcohol abuse prevention model. I absolutely loved it. From that point forward, I knew psychology was the field I wanted to study and work in. I was also fortunate to find excellent mentors in the profession early on.
Favorite movie and book of all time: We don’t have a TV in the house so I don’t watch much mainstream programming. I’m an avid reader. I’m usually reading 5 books at a time. And I mean paper books, not a Kindle or e-reader. I love holding a real book in my hands.
My mom was a professor of creative writing and English so I appreciate great writing. Wallace Stegner is a perfect example of an author who writes with interest and beauty. I’d have to say my favorite book, though, is Julia Child’s biography. I’m a big fan of all things Julia.
What’s on your iPod right now? I like listening to everything – jazz, rock, country, classical and podcasts. I recommend the “Serial” podcast.
First concert: Bob Segar at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. We got there early so we could be on the field instead of in the stands.
What was your first paying job? I worked at a shoe boutique inside Beachwood Mall. I was paid commission on sales and got an awesome discount on shoes.
What’s your quote to live by? “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Who do you most admire and why? I admire people who are willing to risk their lives for the good of humanity; those who are courageous in the face of great personal risk in order to improve the condition of people in the world. There are so many folks like this – the late Nelson Mandela, our military personnel, anyone running for political office – it’s difficult to name just one.
If you could invite anyone to dinner who would it be and why? Easy. That would be Julia Child. I’m sure she’d probably want to cook the dinner, which would be fine with me. I think she’d make great conversation, too. She was not only a consummate chef but also had an amazing sense of humor and adventure.
Do you have any hidden talents? Well, there’s power yoga. I can do headstands, back bends, splits and all the other gymnastic-like moves done in yoga. I also really enjoy making jewelry and painting. It’s fun and therapeutic.
What is your greatest indulgence? Buying fancy ingredients from exotic places to make a unique dish. I also love kitchen accoutrements like pasta makers and special sieves.
Something you’ve always wanted to do: I’d love to live in Africa for a year. There are so many issues with food, eating and illness in the countries there. I’d love to try to help.
Traits you value in a colleague: Integrity, honesty, compassion and a genuine interest in helping others.
What is your greatest achievement? Parenting; raising my children.
What surprised you most about Akron Children’s? During my interview, I was surprised by how many people said they love working here and have stayed for decades. Once I came to work here, I found employees – from the administration down – really committed to the mission – the golden rule. It’s really an unusual thing to see people talk the talk and walk the walk. I’m amazed at the level of commitment and satisfaction employees have in their work because they want to serve families to the best of their ability.