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.

Institutional Overview

PURPOSE STATEMENT: The Native American Interest Group (NAIG) hosts a monthly presentation by nationally known and local speakers that  brings Mayo investigators, educators and allied health staff together with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) investigators, educators, health care providers (tribal, urban, and Indian Health Service--IHS), and health administrators to share knowledge and understandings of cultures, health and education practices, and research relevant to the health of Native people.

MISSION STATEMENT: The NAIG provides a forum that brings the wisdom, skills, expertise, and experience of Native and non-Native investigators, educators, providers, healers, and community members together to advance AI/AN health.

VALUES: We value respect. Without respect, one may be incapable of listening, understanding, and acting in ways that can lead to enduring and trusting relationships.  We value integrity.  In the absence of integrity, trusting relationships cannot endure and honest communication cannot be assured.  We value persistence and constancy.   Without these no good fruit will be forthcoming.

VISION: Our vision is to be the preeminent entity for building long-term research and education relationships between Mayo Clinic and AI/AN people, whether they reside in urban settings or on reservations.

ULTIMATE GOAL: The ultimate goal of the NAIG is to promote interactions that lead to collaborative research and education opportunities.

INTERMEDIATE GOAL: The intermediate goal is to sensitize all participants to implicit and explicit cultural perspectives that must be acknowledged and understood if productive research and education relationships are to result.

EXPECTATIONS: As hosts of the NAIG, we reflect and promote our values among our speakers and our attendees in order that we may advance the vision.

REACH OF THE NAIG: The NAIG has regular monthly attendance in Rochester of between 15 and 35 individuals.  It has a national reach through teleconferencing of the monthly presentations that draw between 8 and 50 callers.   In addition to Mayo Clinic Arizona and Mayo Clinic Florida, teleconference attendees include local, regional, and national academics, local community members, members of various tribes and urban Indian organizations, tribal and Indian health system representatives, public health workers from multiple states, Minnesota Department of Health representatives, representatives from the 12 regions of the Indian Health Service and employees from many regions of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Recent presentation:

Recent presentation:

Valerie DeCora Guimaraes
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
"Patient Relations Specialist at Mayo: Help for Native American Patients"

Valerie DeCora Guimaraes, presented on her role as the first Patient Relations Specialist at Mayo for Native American patients seeking health and healing. Valerie is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, with Dakota ancestry. She has been an RN for 20+ years, and has worked in med-surg, neuro, rehab, public health, and served as an adjunct professor in the clinical setting. She earned her bachelor degrees in nursing and physiology at WSU and the U of M. She earned her master’s degree from Lesley University in Interdisciplinary Studies – Research Methodology and Historical Research. Valerie has served on Human Rights Commissions for 15 years: in Winona and Bemidji, MN. She has served as a member and as the Chairwoman of both of these commissions.

Valerie has written several articles, essays and books, and continues to write stories and commentaries on indigenous life. Social justice issues are a passion, and through this, Valerie has initiated several projects: Give Them Hope, Project Sylvia, and the Native American Family Fund.

Valerie is currently a member of the Native American Nurses Association, the Native American Women’s Network Association, and is on the board of the Rochester International Association. Valerie also is a member of the RACE Advisory Council through the Science Museum of MN. Valerie has also co-founded the non-profit GRADS, which provides education to better understand the Dakota cultural and traditions to the greater Rochester Community.

Valerie is currently employed as a Patient Relations Specialist who works with Native American patients seeking health and healing here at Mayo.

Click Link for Ms. Guimaraes' Presentation

Past NAIG Presenters:

Dr. Jeff Linkenbach and Dr. Robert Sege
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
“Cultivating H.O.P.E. (Health Outcomes from Positive Experiences) – A New Approach for Child Maltreatment Prevention and Health Promotion”All of us carry with us the experiences of our own past, and the historical experiences of our people.  Wisdom teachers in many native traditions have long espoused that culture, language and ceremony are paramount to balance and well-being.  In the past, the Western outlook has often focused on trauma and adversity.  Now, new research may finally be catching up to Native science with a focus on positivity as resilience. “The future of our society is bright, and it rests with our children, who are the leaders, parents, citizens and workforce of the future. In turn, the well-being of our children is the responsibility of all of us. Current brain and social sciences have shed light on the impact of childhood adversity, risks, and toxic and negative factors impacting healthy child development. Yet this focus can only go so far in prescribing what is needed for a thriving society.” (Sege, R., Bethell, C., Linkenbach, J., Jones, J., Klika, B. & Pecora, P.J. 2017. Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences with HOPE: New Insights Into the Role of Positive Experience on Child and Family Development. Boston: The Medical Foundation). Drs. Robert Sege and Jeff Linkenbach will present their work in this webinar with a focus on the HOPE Framework (Health Outcomes of Positive Experience).  This approach builds on the important insights of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study – that adult health is deeply affected by childhood experience.  By exploring the positive childhood experiences that contribute to adult health, the keynote address will help reframe our work with vulnerable families. HOPE is one piece of a growing body of work that points to concrete steps we can take to help assure our children (Native and non-Native) have a bright future.
Click Link for Dr. Linkenbach and Dr. Sege's Presentation
Amy Thompson and Victoria McKay
Tuesday January 8, 2019
“Jordan’s Principle: What is Jordan’s Principle? What Does Jordan’s Principle Look Like in Manitoba?”
Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Jordan was born with complex medical needs. He spent more than two years unnecessarily in hospital while the Province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who should pay for his at-home care. Jordan died in the hospital at the age of five years old, never having spent a day in his family home. Jordan’s Principle aims to make sure First Nations children have access to all public services in a way that is reflective of their distinct cultural needs, that takes full account of the historical disadvantage linked to colonization, and that ensures they do not experience any service denials, delays or disruptions because they are First Nations. Amy Thompson is the Jordan’s Principle health services coordinator for the West Region Treaty 2 & 4 Health  Services Unit located in Dauphin, Manitoba. Victoria McKay is a Case Manager for Jordan’s Principle a Child First Initiative on Rolling River First Nation in Manitoba Canada.
Click Link for Ms. Thompson and Ms. McKay's Presentation
Dr. Allen Brown
Tuesday December 11, 2018
Mayo Clinic's Traumatic Brain Injury Regional Advisory Council: 25 years of Partnership and Collaboration
Dr. Allen Brown's talk outlined how and why the Traumatic Brain Injury Regional Advisory Council developed, its structure and role in our clinical practice and research, and how we have collaborated during its 25 years of existence. At NARO’s October organizational advisory board meeting attended by tribal health directors and Mayo representative, a recommendation was made that hearing from someone who has successfully conducted a sustained advisory board would be beneficial for getting the Mayo-tribal health director board launched.  Dr. Brown graciously offered to share his experience,The goal was to provide background for a discussion of how this Council may relate or be relevant to the group’s developing advisory board.
Click Link for Dr. Brown's Presentation

Dr. Jessica Blanchard
Tuesday November 13, 2018
Beyond Ancestry: The Production and Consumption of Genetic Knowledge
The Office of Health Disparities Research and the Native American Interest Group welcome Dr. Jessica Blanchard, a Research Scientist at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Applied Social Research and the Center for the Ethics of Indigenous Genomic Research.  Her research focuses broadly on the reduction of health disparities in American Indian/Alaska Native and other underrepresented communities, with particular focus on issues related to cancer, ethical and social implications of genomic research, and building community partnerships and capacity in health research.
Click Link for Dr. Blanchard's Presentation
Dr. Judith Salmon Kaur
October 9, 2018
Keeping the Spirit of EAGLES Promises

Dr. Kaur, who spoke on Keeping the Spirit of EAGLES Promises, is a Professor of Oncology at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in both Medical Oncology and Palliative Care and Hospice. Dr. Kaur is Choctaw/Cherokee and one of only two American Indian medical oncologists in the country. Her role at Mayo Clinic spans all three shields, and she has engaged in both clinical trials and population sciences-based research. Medical Director for the Native American Program of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Kaur has been involved in disparities research for over 25 years. Dr. Kaur was recently featured in a campaign to promote federal funding for cancer research, and has been continuously funded for multiple programs since 1995.
Click Link for Dr. Kaur's Presentation
Dr. Brenda Child
June 14, 2018
Nurses and Jingle Dress Dancers in the Modern World

Ojibwe historian Brenda Child explores the history of the Ojibwe Jingle Dress Dance Tradition and the role of nurses in the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. During the global influenza crisis, the Jingle Dress Dance was a revolutionary new tradition of healing that appears to have surfaces simultaneously in Ojibwe communities of both the United States and Canada. Women invented new performative rituals as they worked to restore health to those stricken by the disease, while others risked their own health by laboring as nurses as the demand for a volunteer work force emerged to cope with the sickness and astonishing death toll of the epidemic.
Click Link for Dr. Child's Presentation
Dean S. Seneca, MPH, MCURP
June 12, 2018

Health Disparities in the Great Lakes Area
Disparities in health should frame public health priorities and policy decisions that help set the agenda and vision for action. This, in turn, should dictate political choices that determine budget, eliminate barriers and promote administrative remedies that are amenable to the tribal community. The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center, a program of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc., serves 34 Tribal Nations, four Urban Indian programs, and three service units of the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service, covering the geographical areas of Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago, IL. The Great Lakes area is characterized by many preventable health conditions that plague the region. This presentation is intended to uncover many of these conditions, which include statistically significant rates of infant mortality, cancer, chronic liver disease, diabetes, influenza, homicide, and unintentional injuries. This presentation will also include a discussion surrounding resources, needs, and using data to inform program development.
Click Link for Mr. Seneca's Presentation
Katie Cueva
May 8, 2018
Culturally Respectful Health Promotion: Lessons Learned from Cancer Education with Alaska's Tribal Primary Care Providers

Katie Cueva of the University of Alaska Anchorage was guest speaker at the May Native American Interest Group. Her presentation, Culturally Respectful Health Promotion: Lessons Learned from Cancer Education with Alaska's Tribal Primary Care Providers, discussed a community-based, participatory project by a team based at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Working in partnership with Alaska's tribal primary care providers, the Consortium developed, delivered and measured a culturally respectful, online cancer education program. Native Alaskans who took the online education reported an increase in cancer knowledge, intentions to reduce their personal cancer risks, and intentions to share cancer information with their patients, families, friends, and community members.
Click Link for Ms. Cueva's Presentation
Lois Brown and Amber Cardinal
April 10, 2018

Effective Strategies for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Equity
A presentation by two representatives of the American Indian Cancer Foundation, a national nonprofit organization established to address cancer disparities in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Lois Brown, Nurse Educator, and Amber Ruffin, Cancer Equity Manager, will discuss the unique ways AICAF has engaged urban and tribal AI/AN clinics and communities to make talking about health promotion and disease prevention fun. They will also discuss current research projects, a new CDC-funded cancer control program, and ways to collaborate.
Click Link for Ms. Brown and Ms. Cardinal's Presentation
Puneet_Sahota Punheet Sahota, PhD.
March 13, 2018

Research in Service to Community: The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) Research Program.
NICWA works to support the safety, health, and spiritual strength of American Indian and Alaska Native children along the broad continuum of their lives. It is the most comprehensive source of information on American Indian and Alaska Native Child Welfare. Its research program supports the work of its organization by generating new knowledge and translating existing research into products helpful to its members and staff. Dr. Sahota's presentation provided an overview of the NICWA research program, including the values behind its work and some of its specific projects, both past and current. NICWA is a private, nonprofit, membership organization based in Portland, OR, whose members include tribes, individuals (both Native and non-Native), and private organizations from around the U.S. concerned with Native child and family issues.
Click Link for Dr. Sahota's Presentation
Jon Kerstetter M.D.
December 12, 2017

Jon Kerstetter, M.D., one of the first Native Americans to receive an M.D. from Mayo Clinic's School of Medicine, grew up on the Oneida Nation in Wisconsin hearing stories of his grandfather's boarding school experiences at the Carlisle Industrial Indian School. After graduating medical school, he initially practiced in Iowa, then joined the Iowa National Guard, ultimately serving as a combat physician and flight surgeon in Rwanda, Kosovo, Bosnia, and, finally, Iraq. He served three tours in Iraq at the height of US involvement, ultimately suffering an injury, and a stroke shortly thereafter, which forced him back to Iowa and prevented his return both to military service and the practice of medicine. As part of his long and difficult rehabilitation, Dr. Kerstetter began writing, and his work has appeared in "The Best American Essays," River Teeth, and other literary journals. In September 2017, he published his biography, Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story, in which he examines the unique moral and social dichotomy faced by military doctors: the fundamental tension between killing and healing, between soldier and physician. He also examines his life experiences, which have been marked by crossings from one world into another, from cultural, ethnic, social, medical, and military perspectives.
Click Link for Dr. Kerstetter's Presentation
Gillian Gould, Ph.D. M.A. M.B.Ch.B.
May 9, 2017

Translational Approaches to Smoking Cessation for Indigenous Pregnant Women
Dr. Gould is an associate professor, General (Medical) Practitioner (GP), Tobacco Treatment Specialist and Indigenous Health researcher at University of Newcastle, Australia.  She is supported by prestigious research fellowships from the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Cancer Institute New South Wales. Dr. Gould has worked in Indigenous health research for over 10 years, collaboratively developing targeted smoking cessation strategies with the Aboriginal community in Australia.
Click Link for Dr. Gould's Presentation
Samantha Lucas-Pipkorn MPH
April 11, 2017

Tribal Epidemiology Centers: Fulfilling a Trust Responsibility
Samantha Lucas-Pipkorn, MPH, a chronic disease epidemiologist and the acting Director of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center (GLITEC), will be the featured speaker at OHDR’s April Native American Interest Group (NAIG) meeting. GLITEC is one of nation’s 12 Tribal Epide-miology Centers and has, for more than 20 years, served 34 Tribes, three Native American Service Units, and four Urban Indian Health Programs, supporting these communities in their efforts to improve community health by assisting with data needs through partnership development, community based research, education, and technical assistance. Ms. Lucas-Pipkorn’s presentation, Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center: One of Twelve Centers Fulfilling a Federal Trust Responsibility, will describe the federal trust responsibility, the Tribal Epidemiology Centers and their mission, and will introduce select projects that GLITEC has undertaken.
Click Link for Ms. Lucas-Pipkorn's Presentation
mss_0001386968 Jon Tilburt M.D.
February 14, 2017

Welcoming Healthcare
Jon Tilburt, M.D., a health disparities researcher who focuses on patient-centered care and ethics. Dr. Tilburt—who has ongoing partnerships with the Alaska Native Medical Center and with the Walking Forward program in South Dakota—will explore how insights from shared decision making research may or may not apply to Native communities. He will also explore how emerging re-search might help re-envision what it means to respect and wholeheartedly embrace patients in health systems, as well as open up a conversation about a kind of "sovereignty training" in the research and health care establishment about the meaning of respect in 21st century healthcare.
Click Link for Dr. Tilburt's presentation
Bill Ward
December 13, 2016
A Cancer Survivors Journey to Help Educate Others About the Value of Early Detection of Cancer
Bill Ward, cancer survivor, veteran, and men’s health advocate, who will present on, “A Cancer Survivor’s Journey to Help Educate Others About the Value of Early Detection of Cancer.” Mr. Ward, who was raised on the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation, targets his advocacy to underserved communities on Native American reservations.
Click Link for Mr. Ward's Presentation
Sarah Nash Sarah Nash
May 2, 2016

Monitoring Cancer Incidence and Mortality Among Alaska Native People: The Alaska Native Tumor Registry
Dr. Nash joins us from the Alaska Native Tribal 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.
Click Link for Dr. Nash's Presentation
Smith_Betty_J_15J-10441964-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.
Click Link for Ms. Smith and Ms. Greising's Presentation
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 Presentation
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.
Click Link for Ms. Barton's Presentation
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.
Click Link for Dr. Petersen's Presentation
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.
Click Link for Ms. Attakai's Presentation
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 Presentation
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 Presentation
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 Presentation
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 Presentation
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.
Click Link for Dr. Solomon's Presentation
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 Presentation
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.
Click Link for Ms. Dionne's Presentation


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