Journal of Community Health

, Volume 44, Issue 6, pp 1027–1036 | Cite as

Indigenizing Academics Through Leadership, Awareness, and Healing: The Impact of a Native American Health Seminar Series for Health Professionals, Students, and Community

  • Patricia A. CarneyEmail author
  • Cynthia Taylor
  • Rosa Frutos
  • Dove Spector
  • Erik Brodt
Original Paper


Health disparities have long affected American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Transformations are needed in academia to help understand Indigenous ‘ways of knowing.’ Lifting the voices of AI/ANs in telling their stories could improve the education of students, faculty and the lay public. We collaborated to develop, implement and evaluate a Native American Health Seminar Series taught by AI/AN leaders on addressing health disparities among AI/AN people. A quasi-experimental mixed methods design included a 15-item survey to assess the impact of the Seminar Series on knowledge of AI/AN health issues and its influence, among students, on health career choices. During the 2018 academic year, three seminars were held and 243 participants attended. In total, 182 surveys (74.9%) were completed by faculty members, students and members of the lay public. Students (all categories combined) represented the highest participant group (48.4%), followed by the lay public at 30% and faculty at 21.6%. The highest scores on knowledge of Native health issues prior to seminar attendance were reported by those representing the lay public with a mean of 3.96 compared to 3.67 for faculty and 3.43 among students (p = 0.01), which was highly represented by Indigenous people. Increases in knowledge occurred in all participant groups. Among students, 65.6% initially indicated that they were not planning on pursuing a career in Native health. Among these, 56.9% indicated they were somewhat to extremely likely to pursue a career in Native health as a result of having attended the seminar.


Indigenous health and healing Career choice Health disparities Tribal health workforce Indigenous health education 



This work was supported by the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence (NNACOE), funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Workforce under Grant No. D34HP31026 for NNACOE.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family Medicine, School of MedicineOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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