Office of Health Disparities Research

Addressing Health Disparities is Our Priority.

Native American Interest Group

Mayo Clinic's  Native American Interest Group (NAIG) sponsors a monthly speaker series and fosters important collaborations between Native communities and health disparities researchers. Meetings take place on the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota, and are open to the public for attendance by videocast.

Upcoming presentations

June 2016 (Date, Time TBD)
Darin Prescott, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN, is the community health & social service director and the clinic CEO of the Lower Sioux Indian Community. Mr. Prescott will speak concerning health issues and initiatives at the tribe, including its recently-opened Lower Sioux Health Care Center.

Darin Prescott

Darin Prescott

This presentation will be streamed live at

Monday, May 2, 2016

Sarah Nash

Dr. Sarah Nash

Sarah Nash, Ph.D. Dr. Nash joins us from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, where she work in the Tribal Epidemiology Center as Director of the Alaska Native Tumor Registry. Dr. Nash also serves as the Principal Investigator for the Alaska Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Sarah Nash
Smith_Betty_J_15J-10441964-Native File
Greising_Shirley_A_14N-11375728-Native File
Betty Smith and Shirley Greising
March 7, 2016
My Sister and I: A Norwegian-Dakota Family History - Our Dakota Educational Journey Continues

These sisters came to know their Dakota heritage later in life, and will be updating the story they began sharing with NAIG some years back. They retrace their upbringing in Rochester, MN with their Norwegian father and their mother, who grew up on the Spirit Lake Dakota Tribal Reservation (No.Dak.) The women's uncle, Woodrow Wilson Keeble, served as a master sergeant in the U.S. Army, was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty during the Korean War. Keeble is the only full-blooded Dakota/Lakota to have received the Medal of Honor.
tommyrock Tommy Rock
February 1, 2016
Uranium Contamination on the Navajo Nation

Mr. Rock, formerly associated with the Native Learning Center and the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, currently conducts research on the impact of uranium contamination on the livestock and residents in Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation. There are 523 abandoned uranium mines, dating back to WWII, on the Navajo Nation.
Click Link for Mr. Rock's Slideshow
DianneBartonc Dianne Barton
December 7, 2015
Understanding Tribal Exposure to Toxics
Ms. Barton is Water Quality Coordinator at the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) where she provides technical expertise related to water quality, environmental toxics, regulatory processes, and fate and transport of contaminants. She also serves as the Chairman of the National Tribal Toxics Council (NTTC) which is an EPA Tribal partnership group that advocates for tribal interests in toxic policy decisions. Prior to her current position she was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico and worked in their Environmental Restoration Technologies Department and in their Infrastructure Surety Department. She holds a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the University of Arizona and is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Video of Ms. Barton's presentation.
Click Link for Ms. Barton's Slideshow
WesleyPetersen Wesley Petersen, Ph.D.
October 5, 2015
NARO: What is it? What does it do? What can it do for you?
Dr. Petersen is Assistant Professor of Oncology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and the Supervisor of Mayo Clinic's Native Sister Programs. He conducts research primarily with American Indians and Alaska Natives and has served as principal investigator, co-principal investigator, and co-investigator on a variety of projects involving tribes in the Midwest, Southwest, and Alaska. Following principles of community-based participatory research, Dr. Petersen's current studies involve identifying theoretical mediators that may differentiate women who adhere to breast screening guidelines from those who do not, establishing a foundation upon which interventional studies may be designed to increase women's adherent participation in their tribe's mammography screening programs.
Video PlatformVideo ManagementVideo SolutionsVideo Player
Video of Dr. Petersen's Presentation
Click Link for Dr. Petersen's Slideshow
Daniel Petereit Daniel Petereit, M.D.
September 14, 2015
Walking Forward: Addressing Cancer Disparities Among the Northern Plains American Indians
Dr. Petereit is assistant professor in the Department of Radiation/Gynecology and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Human Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a professor at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota Medical School. He practices at Rapid City Regional Hospital and his Special Emphasis-NIH Clinical Disparities Grant for Native Americans relates to brachytherapy for gynecologic, prostate, lung, and breast cancer. He is also a National Cancer Center Institute Principal Investigator on several ongoing grants investigating cancer disparities, clinical trials, and patient navigation.
Video of Dr. Petereit's Presentation
Agnes Attakai Agnes Attakai, MPA
June 1, 2015
Documenting Resilience Stories: Promising Research with Urban American Indian Elders

Agnes Attakai, a member of the Dine (Navajo) Nation, is the Director of Health Disparities Outreach and Prevention Education for the Center of Health Equality at the University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Ms. Attakai has bachelor degrees in political science and American Indian studies, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the UA with a focus on health policy. She has received additional training through the National Cancer Institute Native Researcher Cancer Control Training Program and the Woodrow Wilson Summer Institutes Fellowship in Public Policy and International Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University. Ms. Attakai has coordinated education programs for American Indian students at the university and community college level. She has been a graduate research assistant, program coordinator, senior research specialist, and evaluator focusing on community-engaged projects and coordinating education and training programs for medically and rural underserved populations in Arizona. She has developed educational materials and curriculum on health prevention, including cancer, to lay health workers (Community Health Representatives/Promotoras de Salud) and community members. Her current projects include the Southwest American Indian Collaborative Network grant with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., the Center for Health Equality/Project EXPORT with the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health, and the Evaluation of the Hardrock Youth Wellness and Prevention Program with the Navajo community of Hardrock, Ariz. Ms. Attakai is a member of the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus of the American Public Health Association, the Native Research Network and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. She is on the Arizona Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition State Plan committee and a member of the Minority Women’s Health Panel of Experts for the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health.
Video of Ms. Attakai's Presentation
Click Link for Ms. Attakai's Slideshow
Felicia Hodge Felicia Hodge, Ph.D.
May 4, 2015
Patterns of Adverse Childhood Events and Chronic Illnesses Among American Indians--Implications for Health Care
Dr. Felicia Hodge is a Professor in the School of Nursing as well as a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Fielding School of Public Health at the Univesity of California Los Angeles. She teaches courses in research methods, American Indian populations and family theory. Dr. Hodge is the founder and director of the Center for American Indian/Indigenous Research and Education (CAIIRE), which supports research, evaluation, policy development, education, planning, prevention and community service activities. Dr. Hodge is also the Chair of the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA. She also serves as a member of the NIH-NINR National Advisory Council. She has served as Principal Investigator for several large R01 research projects targeting American Indian health issues including cervical cancer, nutrition, smoking cessation, breast cancer, wellness concepts, diabetes, cancer pain and self management, all supported by the National Cancer Institute and/or the National Institute of Nursing Research. Dr. Hodge’s research is focused in the area of developing and testing culturally sensitive intervention models for American Indian populations. Her publications include an analysis of urban and rural smoking patterns, an examination of culturally sensitive interventions, and research into the application of the CES-D (depression) scale among American Indian adults, as well as various cancer and diabetes interventions. Dr. Hodge has developed and tested the “Talking Circle” model that tests group processes and counseling to increase cancer screening among American Indians. She has also developed the train-the-trainers program for smoking cessation projects. Consumer advocacy, participatory research, and culturally sensitive interventions for the American Indian population are the focus of her research.
Click Link for Dr. Hodge's Slideshow
Marilyn A. Roubidoux, M.D. Marilyn Roubidoux, M.D.
April 6, 2015

Breast Cancer, American Indian, and Alaska Native Women
Marilyn Roubidoux is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Radiology at the University of Michigan. As a member of the Sioux and Iowa Nations, she has seen high incidences of cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native populations from a personal and a medical perspective. As a researcher, teacher, and physician, she is tackling the issue in a number of ways—and by drawing national attention to this health disparity and raising awareness within at-risk communities. Dr. Roubidoux’s two major areas of research are cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native populations, and breast disease. According to year 2000 statistics from the U. S. Department of Public Health and Human Services, cancer is the second leading cause of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives over age 45. A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that overall death rates for the four top cancers increased 67 percent among American Indians and Alaska Natives from 1990 to 1998. Early and accurate diagnosis is particularly important for those who lack insurance or otherwise have limited access to health care, and, as a group, American Indians and Alaska Natives are second only to Hispanics in terms of the percentages of each group who do not have health insurance. Dr. Roubidoux is widely published on the topic of cancer in American Indian populations and lectures regularly on the subject around the country. She is also a member of the Society of Breast Imaging, the Network for Cancer Control Research among American Indians and Alaska Natives, and the American Association of Indian Physicians.
Click Link for Dr. Roubidoux's Slideshow
Jackie Dionne, MHD Director of American Indian Health Jackie Dionne, MDH
April 23, 2015

Minnesota American Indians, Indian Tribes, and Health Disparities 101
Jackie Dionne is Director of American Indian Health/Tribal Liaison at the Minnesota Department of Health. Ms. Dionne was recently appointed to the Tiwahe Foundation Board of Directors, to which she brings a wealth of experience working with the Twin Cities American Indian Community and previously serving on several boards that have been instrumental in the Twin Cities' community. Ms. Dionne has been extensively involved with the American Indian Family Empowerment Program (AIFEP) and is also a donor to the Seventh Generation Empowerment Campaign.
Click Link for Ms. Dionne's Slideshow
LinkenbachLightfeather Jeff Linkenbach, Ed.D.
Jo Lightfeather, B.A.
February 2, 2015

Honoring Native American Worldviews Through the Science of the Positive
Jeff Linkenbach is a research scientist, author and consultant who brings transformative thinking to help his clients achieve their full potential. Dr. Linkenbach is the Director and Founder of the Montana Institute, where he is in high demand for applications of his Science of the Positive process for transformation. He has frequently used his expertise in the science of positive community norms to help Native American communities and tribal leaders address health, safety and risk-awareness issues.
Jo Lightfeather is Director of the Learning Center at the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center and serves as a representative to the Minnesota Indian Affairs Counsel's Urban Advisory Board. A member of the White Earth Nation, Ms. Lightfeather has conducted research on Native American historical holdings and on issues surrounding American Indian Boarding Schools and the effects on American Indian Elders.
Click Link for the Linkenbach-Lightfeather Slideshow
Solomon_T Teshia Arambula Solomon, Ph.D.
December 1, 2014
Promoting Indigenous Knowledge and Inspiring Indigenous Health Research, Scholarship, and Leadership
Dr. Solomon is Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona and was appointed Co-Director of the Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC) in June 2007. A Choctaw/Mexican-American, Dr. Solomon has over eighteen years experience in health-related research and training involving Native American students in public health. She is Principal Investigator and Director of the Faculty and Student Research Development program of the American Indian Research Centers for Health (AIRCH5) as well as Director of the Research Core. She serves as Co-Investigator and Co-Director of the Native American Cancer Program research training initiative and as a co-Investigator on the Community Outreach component with the Arizona Cancer Center. As Co-Investigator for the Arizona Study Center of the National Children’s Study (DHHS Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development), she is responsible for the Tribal community engagement component. She is a founding member and Past Co-Chair of the Native Research Network, Inc. She previously served as the Director of the Southern Plains Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center at the Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board. She has been a Fellow at Northwest Portland Indian Health Board, NARCH, and a National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Scholar. She has published research in cervical cancer prevention and control and is a co-author of two papers in the 2008 supplement to Cancer on AI/AN cancer. She is currently editing a book on the ethical conduct of research in Native American communities. Dr. Solomon has mentored students as a faculty member for more than 10 years and has promoted research development by pursuing and providing funds for students to attend the annual American Public Health Association meeting and the annual Native Health Research conference.
Video of Dr. Solomon's Presentation
Click Link for Dr. Solomon's Slideshow
Tilburt_Jon_C_12O Jon Tilburt, M.D.
November 2, 2014
Addressing Health Priorities of Tribal Health Directors with Surveys: Lessons from a Pilot Study?
Dr. Jon Tilburt conducts research focused on improving care by affirming the dignity of patients and families, the integrity of health care professionals, and empathic care for all patients. He investigates challenges in and opportunities to improve patient-centered care. Dr. Tilburt studies topics including shared decision making, health care reform, integrative medicine, and health disparities. Since 2008, he has been learning from and interacting with Native American communities on topics related to prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and men's health. Dr. Tilburt helped created the website
Video of Dr. Tilburt's Presentation
Click Link for Dr. Tilburt's Slideshow
Jackie Dionne, MHD Director of American Indian Health Jackie Dionne, MDH
October 6, 2014
Health Disparities and Social Determinants of Health Among American Indians in Minnesota

Jackie Dionne is Director of American Indian Health/Tribal Liaison at the Minnesota Department of Health. Ms. Dionne was recently appointed to the Tiwahe Foundation Board of Directors, to which she brings a wealth of experience working with the Twin Cities American Indian Community and previously serving on several boards that have been instrumental in the Twin Cities' community. Ms. Dionne has been extensively involved with the American Indian Family Empowerment Program (AIFEP) and is also a donor to the Seventh Generation Empowerment Campaign.
Video of Ms. Dionne's Presentation
Click Link for Ms. Dionne's Slideshow.


Contact Us · Privacy Policy