SPOKANE – High school students from 12 Native American western tribes will learn about health sciences and Native American health care issues June 22-28 during the 13th annual Na-ha-shnee Native American Summer Institute.
 
WSU is sponsering the the weeklong institute and 18 high school students.
 
Coursework will addresses the history, culture and health care needs of Native Americans, and begins to create an awareness of the need for native healthcare professionals now and in the future.
 
The program, administered by dedicated Native American healthcare students and practicing professionals, will include seven Native American nurses this year.
 
“This summer camp will give me a chance to learn from the best,” said Memory Abe, a student from Lapwai High School and the Western Shoshone tribe, in her application form.
 
“By becoming a nurse, I will be accomplishing my goal of choosing a career where I can care for my Native people.”
 
The tribes and reservations represented include the Yakama, Nez Perce, Western Shoshone, Choctaw, Kalispel, Blackfoot, Nooksack, Colville, Arapaho, Chumash, Muckleshoot, and Athabaskan.
 
The students will experience a variety of activities including a trip 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 career panel discussion, students can partake in eight different health career workshops including: speech and hearing, medicine, pharmacy, exercise and metabolism, nutrition, and nursing including psychiatric/mental health nursing and a workshop about becoming a nurse-midwife.
 
“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 WSUSpokane.
 
“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 Americanculture.”
 
Native nurses will present information on a variety of topics throughout the week including: first aid and CPR, gathering of traditional medicines, Native American traditional teachings, basic nursing skills, leadership skills, team building activities, diabetes education, 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 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.