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Students from 12 Tribes Attend Summer Institute


Eighteen high school students from 12 Native American western tribes are attending the 13th annual Na-ha-shnee Native American Summer Institute to learn about the health sciences professions and health-care issues, Washington State University announced.

Coursework at the weeklong institute that began Sunday, (June 22) addresses the history, culture and health care needs of American Indians, and begins to create an awareness of the need for native health-care professionals..

“Most of the experiences the students will have during their week will be very new, very challenging and very thought provoking,” said Robbie Paul, Native American recruitment and retention director for health sciences at WSU Spokane. “Many of these students want to find a career where they can help other people and health care is an ideal profession for that desire. The concept of giving back to your community is a fundamental ideology of Native American culture.”

The tribes and reservations represented by students include the Yakama, Nez Perce, Western Shoshone, Choctaw, Kalispel, Blackfoot, Nooksack, Colville, Arapaho, Chumash, Muckleshoot, and Athabaskan.

Memory Abe, a student from Lapwai High School and the Western Shoshone tribe, wrote in her application form:

“This summer camp will give me a chance to learn from the best. By becoming a nurse, I will be accomplishing my goal of choosing a career where I can care for my native people.”

The students will take trips to the WSU City Lab to conduct DNA experiments with Dr. Silvia Oliver and to the WSU Human Anatomy Lab in Pullman.

In addition to taking part in a panel discussion with Native American healthcare professionals, students also can choose from eight workshops offered: speech and hearing, medicine, pharmacy, exercise and metabolism, nutrition, and nursing, including psychiatric/mental health nursing and midwifery. Six returning students will receive a more in-depth experience and the opportunity to “shadow” professionals at Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane.

Students will be housed during the week at Whitworth University. Throughout the week native nurses will present information on first aid and CPR, gathering of traditional medicines, traditional teachings, basic nursing skills, leadership skills, team building, diabetes, substance abuse and sex education.

The week’s activities will culminate with an award ceremony reception at Whitworth University. Paul, who is from the Nez Perce tribe, will be giving the closing address along with awarding certificates of completion to students. Vaughn Eagle Bear from the Colville tribe will be doing an honor song and prayer for the students.

The 13th Annual Na-ha-shnee Health Sciences High School Summer Institute is sponsored by the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing Trude Smith Native American Endowment, WSU Creighton Endowment and WSU College of Pharmacy, with additional support from the WSU Spokane WWAMI Medical Education Program. Na-ha-shnee is an amalgamation of the words Native American High School Summer Nursing Institute. It has no literal translation in any tribal language.

For more information about the program, contact: Robbie Paul, WSU Spokane, [email protected], 509/368-6884

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