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From the NIH Director: NIH 2018 National Native American Heritage Month

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear NIH Family,

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is proud to recognize November as National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM). This year’s theme, "Leading the Way to a Healthier Future", is dedicated to the American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) who have made notable contributions to medical care and biomedical research. During this time, we reaffirm NIH’s commitment to working with the AI/AN community on the most effective ways to advance tribal health research that will lead to better health in the tribal community.

At the NIH, we are working to promote diversity among our scientists and all staff. We are looking to build a workforce that represents the population as a whole. There are many past and present inspiring AI/AN leaders who have contributed to improving AI/AN health. One example of a champion for Native American health and health care is Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte. Dr. Picotte was the first Native American woman to earn a medical degree, open her own hospital, and testify before Congress for better health conditions on Native American reservations.

On November 19th, the NIH Tribal Health Research Office is hosting Dr. Joseph Gone, a Clinical-community Psychologist and Professor of Anthropology, Global Health, and Social Medicine at Harvard University, to share the results of his research. Dr. Gone examines cultural influences on mental health status and the intersection of evidence-based practice and cultural competence in mental health services. A citizen of the Gros Ventre tribal nation of Montana, he has investigated these issues through collaborative research partnerships in both reservation and urban American Indian communities. Dr. Gone will share his thoughts and discuss American Indian therapeutic traditions and modern health treatments. Please join us on the 19th of November, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. in Wilson Hall at Building 1 to hear Dr. Gone’s presentation.

Dr. Picotte’s and Dr. Gone’s accomplishments should inspire all of us, including young Native Americans, to want to push their limits—whether it is being the first in their family to graduate from college, attend medical or graduate school, or become a health care professional or a medical researcher.

For more information about NNAHM and other EDI 365 events, please visit EDI’s Native American Heritage 2018 page.

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

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