Executive Director, NCAIHB
(336) 978-6510 cell
State and National Partners Honor American Indian & Other Minority Students
in New Program addressing Health Disparities
WINSTON-SALEM – The North Carolina American Indian Health Board (NCAIHB), in partnership with the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity (MACHE) at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and Health Career Connection (HCC) of Oakland, CA, celebrates the graduation of the first class of North Carolina interns on August 6th at the Michael Hooker Research Center in Chapel Hill, NC. The meeting will celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates and bring together speakers, health leaders, host organizations, and alumni of the program.
American Indians in North Carolina have documented health disparities across a number of health conditions and limited access to culturally competent health care services. “One approach to addressing this problem is increasing the number of trained American Indian health care professionals in the state” said Dr. Ronny Bell, Co-Director of MACHE and Vice Chair of NCAIHB. HCC is a national nonprofit organization based in Oakland, CA that inspires and empowers both college students, as well as HCC alumni, focusing on those who come from under-represented or disadvantage backgrounds, to pursue careers in healthcare and public health. After a 25-year history of this national program, the program has reached North Carolina this year thanks to the collaborative efforts of these three state and national partners that begin in 2011.
The goal of the new program is to inspire and empower undergraduate students, particularly those from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds, to choose and successfully pursue healthcare and public health careers. In its first year (2012), 12 minority students were placed, of which 6 were American Indian, in health departments, clinics and health-focused nonprofits around the state for the summer. Evaluation data indicate that the interns were very satisfied with their experience and feel confident they will pursue a career in the health professions. Charlene Hunt, a Salem College student placed with the NC American Indian Health Board in Winston-Salem, NC, says, “This program has enabled me to embark upon a new, exciting path in the diverse field of public health. I was led on a journey to discover where my true passion lies.”
The program will be expanded in future years to provide additional training opportunities for student of color in hope of addressing the issue of diversity in the public health and medical workforce.
The following individuals will graduate from the new program:
Name University Host Organization
Takira Dale Wake Forest
Rosa Maria Vincente
Mary Beth Locklear
Brittany Hunt Duke
The North Carolina Indian Health Board is focused on promoting quality health care and healthy lifestyles within American Indian families and communities in North Carolina through research, education and advocacy. The North Carolina American Indian Health Board was formed in 2009, and is a natural extension of the hard work and dedication of the North Carolina American Indian Health Task Force that was jointly convened in 2004 by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the NC Commission of Indian Affairs. The Task Force brought together representatives from all American Indian tribes and select organizations from across NC, and was co-chaired by then NC DHHS Secretary Carmen Hooker-Odom and NC Commission of Indian Affairs Chair Paul Brooks. This program is the first of many to be implemented by NCAIHB. www.ncaibh.org
The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University envisions the achievement of health equity by moving scientific discovery to action. We have affiliates from every specialty actively participating in Health Disparities research, Community Outreach and Student Development.
Health Career Connection is a national organization working to improve the health of populations in the regions we serve and nationally by motivating and developing greater numbers of value driven, capable and diverse leaders and public health professionals.