Char-Koosta News

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Tribal Council Representative Shelly Fyant visits INMED

By Shelly Fyant

I traveled to Grand Forks, ND, on Thursday, April 10, to the INMED Tribal Board Meeting, which I was appointed to in February. INMED stands for “Indians Into Medicine” and is located at the University of North Dakota (UND), former home of the “Fighting Sioux”. INMED has a Tribal Advisory Board comprised of representatives of 24 tribes in Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. There is also a satellite office located at the University of South Dakota (USD) campus.

A total of fifteen (15) INMED students will graduate this year including: Mandie Baker, Citizen Band of Potawatomi, Doctor of Medicine; Sarah Bell, Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation, BS in Nursing; Gina Benson, Minnesota Chippewa Tribes, BS in Nursing; Charity Bishop, Gila River Indian Community, Doctor of Medicine; Abby Davis, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Doctor of Medicine; Adrienne Davis, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Doctor of Physical Therapy; Adam Dell, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Doctor of Medicine; Stephn Drywater, Cherokee Nation, Doctor of Medicine; Kyle Hill, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Doctor of Clinical Psychology; Greg LeBeau, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, BS in Social Work; Will Longhurst, Navajo Nation, Doctor of Medicine; Tyler Parisien, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, MS in Medical Lab Science; Ethan Thomas, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, BS in Nursing; Pearl Walker, Standing Rock Sioux, Master of Public Health; and Derek Whitman, Oglala Sioux Tribe, BS in Community Nutrition.

INMED is a comprehensive federally funded program designed to support Native American students interested in pursuing a career in the health care field with the hope they will serve and meet the needs of their tribal communities. It has been in continuous operation since 1973 and serves students in multiple health related disciplines including medicine, nursing, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, dietetics, medical laboratory science, engineering, psychology and counseling to name a few. INMED has graduated 213 medical doctors and 243 nursing and allied health students. Each academic year, INMED provides services to over 100 college undergraduate and professional school American Indian students. Additionally, INMED conducts summer academic preparation programs for over 120 Native students. Participants range from 7th grade students through adult learners.

Summer Institute: A six-week math and science enrichment program held at UND, inviting 90 high school students who want to pursue a health care career to live in dorms, attend courses, and experience challenging curriculum.

MedPrep: A six-week summer program for American Indian college upperclassmen who are preparing for medical school coursework and the MCAT exam.

Pathway: A six-week program for tribal community college students planning to transfer to UND in health care or pre-health curricula.

Academic Year Programs:
   • Undergraduate Allied Health/Pre Med
   • Graduate Allied Health/ Pre Med
   • Medical School
   • Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
   • Master of Public Health

Services include, but are not limited to:
   • Tutoring services
   • Academic advising
   • INMED library
   • PCL rooms
   • Learning resource center/computer lab
   • Financial aid navigation
   • Scholarships
   • Personal advising
   • Conferences and workshops
   • Social support gatherings
   • Cultural honoring ceremonies
   • Academic supplies
   • Family/cultural environment

Like many federally funded programs, INMED has lost resources and funding over the years. Specifically, INMED has not received an increase in funding from Indian Health Service (IHS) since 2006, and IHS funding decreased by over $36,000 in 2013 due to sequestration. In 2006, INMED had nine employees, today staffing is at four. However, like many tribal programs INMED has maintained all programs with fewer staff. In 2014, summer programs will have to be reduced and/or eliminated unless additional fiscal resources are identified and utilized.

I got a “crash course” in INMED programs, funding and future at the Board meeting on Friday. That evening, the Tribal Advisory Board sponsored a dinner for graduates of health professions, where I met 7 of the 15 graduates. I spoke with each person individually before dinner and learned where they are going to do their residencies. After dinner, each board member was given the opportunity to address the graduates. We all spoke of our admiration and pride for these students’ focus, commitment and sacrifices to pursue advanced degrees in the medical profession. Many spoke of their hopes that these students will come home to work and serve their people. Even though I just met the students, I was very moved by their endeavors and accomplishments, and especially their young ages!

UND was also hosting their annual 2014 UND Indian Association Time-Out Wacipi April 11-13, 2014 at the Hyslop Sports Center on the University of North Dakota campus. There is an interesting history behind this event related to their former “Sammy Sioux” mascot. See http://und.edu/orgs/indian-association/history.cfm. The INMED graduates were honored with Pendleton blankets after the grand entry on Saturday. I missed this event as I was en route home already.

To learn more about INMED, visit http://www.med.und.edu/indians-into-medicine/ or contact them on Facebook. I would like to coordinate a recruiting tour for INMED staff to all Flathead Reservation schools. Please contact me at 675-2700, ext. 1200 if you are interested.

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