The Tribal Health Scholars at the clinic—Lynden Harry, Kaliyah Iverson and Enrique Ramirez— are seeing first-hand the work of health professionals. Over the next several weeks they will spend Monday mornings at the Warm Springs clinic, learn- ing about a variety of health ca- reers. During the final weeks of nine-week program, the students will choose an area where they want to focus. Lynden, Kaliyah and Enrique are seniors at Madras High School. Each of them already has an in- terest in a specific health-care field: Lynden wants to work in the Physi- cal Therapy field, Kaliyah in Den- tistry, and Enrique in the Nursing field.
Enrique plans on going to Port- land State University in the fall. Lynden and Kaliyah have not yet committed to a college, though schools are interested in offering them scholarships. Kaliyah just last week received a Dean’s Scholar- ship offer; and various schools have shown interest in offering Lynden a basketball scholarship.
This is the inaugural year of the Tribal Health Scholars program, sponsored by the Northwest Na- tive American Center of Excel- lence, Madras High School, On Track, and the Indian Health Ser- vice.
The Center of Excellence, at the Oregon Health Sciences University, works to address health care needs by increasing the Native American voice in the health professions.
Dove Spector, program coordi- nator, is a mentor for the Tribal Health Scholars, providing them with resources and knowledge about college, and how best to pur- sue higher education to achieve their dreams.
Dr. Erik Brodt, director of the Northwest Native American Cen- ter of Excellence, summarized the program goal:
“American Indian people face significant health disparities, further jeopardized by a shortage of health care professionals who come from these communities. We aim to change that.”