Indigenizing Academics Through Leadership, Awareness, and Healing: The Impact of a Native American Health Seminar Series for Health Professionals, Students, and Community

Patricia (Patty) Carney, Cynthia Taylor, Rosa Frutos, Dove Spector, Erik Brodt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Health disparities have long affected American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Transformations are needed in academia to help understand Indigenous ‘ways of knowing.’ Lifting the voices of AI/ANs in telling their stories could improve the education of students, faculty and the lay public. We collaborated to develop, implement and evaluate a Native American Health Seminar Series taught by AI/AN leaders on addressing health disparities among AI/AN people. A quasi-experimental mixed methods design included a 15-item survey to assess the impact of the Seminar Series on knowledge of AI/AN health issues and its influence, among students, on health career choices. During the 2018 academic year, three seminars were held and 243 participants attended. In total, 182 surveys (74.9%) were completed by faculty members, students and members of the lay public. Students (all categories combined) represented the highest participant group (48.4%), followed by the lay public at 30% and faculty at 21.6%. The highest scores on knowledge of Native health issues prior to seminar attendance were reported by those representing the lay public with a mean of 3.96 compared to 3.67 for faculty and 3.43 among students (p = 0.01), which was highly represented by Indigenous people. Increases in knowledge occurred in all participant groups. Among students, 65.6% initially indicated that they were not planning on pursuing a career in Native health. Among these, 56.9% indicated they were somewhat to extremely likely to pursue a career in Native health as a result of having attended the seminar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Community Health
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Career choice
  • Health disparities
  • Indigenous health and healing
  • Indigenous health education
  • Tribal health workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this