SPOKANE, Wash. This summer, 22 high school students from 15 Native American tribes and 23 Washington high school students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a health sciences curriculum at the 16th Annual Na-ha-shnee Health Science Institute, held at Washington State University campuses in Pullman and Spokane.
The Na-ha-shnee Health Science Institute unites aspiring health care professionals with Native American health care professionals and faculty and students from WSU College of Nursing, WSU College of Pharmacy, and Eastern Washington University Dental and Physical Therapy programs. Current WSU Native American nursing students will serve as counselors for the session. Faculty and university students will teach students the skills they need and offer advice to put them on the right track to a health career. Emphasis will also be placed on addressing the need for more Native American health care professionals now and in the future.
“Native Americans represent less than .5 of a percent of the health care workforce,” said Robbie Paul, Native American Health Sciences director at WSU. “This program allows them and other underserved students to experience a career in health care while also introducing them to a field where they can learn to help others, a concept that is ingrained in the fundamental ideology of Native American culture.”
The free program, traditionally offered exclusively to Native American high school students, expanded this year, joining forces with Creating a Nursing Path, a program consisting of 23 high school students. Funded by a workforce diversity grant, Creating a Nursing Path is led by Janet Katz, RN, an associate professor from the WSU College of Nursing in Spokane. The purpose of this program is to address the need to graduate baccalaureate (BSN) prepared nurses from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Students will stay busy during the 12-day camp, set for June 20-July 1, by participating in a variety of activities, including:
Participating in a human anatomy lab where students will view cadavers and be able to touch different body parts
Participating in their choice of mini health care workshops, including Physical Therapy, Nursing, Speech and Hearing, Medical Doctor, Epidemiology, Pharmacy, Exercise Physiology, and Nutrition
Experience completing a “Pig’s Foot Suture” where students will use sutures to stitch up a wound
Mini Health Olympics where students will take their own vital signs after completing variety of tasks
Using simulation to learn fundamental nursing skills
Dissecting a large bug to learn lab science skills
Learning CPR and First Aid
Providing care to animals to promote interest in science
Other topics that will be taught include history, culture, health care needs of Native Americans and others, first aid, gathering of traditional medicines, Native American teachings, leadership skills, team-building activities, diabetes education, substance abuse, and sex education.
Participants in the Na-ha-shnee Heath Sciences Institute represent the following 15 tribes: Spokane, Colville, Yakama, Snoqualmie, Puyallup, Lummi, Umatilla, Blackfoot-Cherokee, Shoshone-Paiute, Cherokee, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Shoshone-Bannock, Tlingit, Chippewa Cree, and Siletz. They come from Washington and Oregon.
Funding for the institute is provided by the Trude Smith Plateau Native American Fund, Washington State University College of Nursing, the Creighton Native American Fund at WSU, the Seattle Indian Health Board, Go-NASF
and ConneX from the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.
About Creating a Nursing Path
This project is supported by funds from the Division of Nursing (DN), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under D19 HP 19023, Creating a New Path: Preparing Disadvantaged Students for Nursing Careers, $894,550. The information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any official endorsement be inferred by, the DN, BHPr, HRSA, DHHS, or the US Government.