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Native Youth Health Advocates Contribute to the National Indian Health Board National Tribal Public Health Summit
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—May 16, 2019—A group of three Native youth volunteers acted as reporters and photographers on the ground this week at the National Indian Health Board’s (NIHB) 10th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit . For two days they interviewed Summit presenters and attendees and learned about Tribal public health programs from across Indian Country.

“The National Indian Health Board recognizes that our Native youth are leading the way in their communities by earning advanced degrees, participating in grassroots movements and taking on leadership roles,” said NIHB Board Chairperson Victoria Kitcheyan. “We are inspired by the strength, vision and resiliency of our young people, and NIHB is committed to providing the resources and mentorship to grow the next generation of Indian health advocates.”

The youth volunteers are all recent college graduates from the Navajo Nation. Natahlia Enoah and Justine Yazzie both earned their Master of Science in Health Education degrees, and Elisha Sneddy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies and Psychology. All attended the University of New Mexico.

“The experience has been amazing,” said Yazzie. “I got to hear from national leaders like the Surgeon General and from tribes about the important work their people are doing to improve American Indian health. It’s really encouraging, and I liked hearing about how passionate people are about their work.”
Photo by Justine Yazzie
The group asked Summit participants about the sessions they enjoyed.

Dr. Tassy Parker from the Cattaraugus Indian Territories of the Seneca Nation said, “My favorite experience at the NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit is getting all the latest information from researchers and allies. Dr. [Spero] Manson’s presentation on data was creative, scientific and historically based. Dr. Manson stated the importance of collection, preservation and protection of data as a sovereign nation.”

Nancy Mangieri from Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community said she enjoyed the presentation on SOAR (Stop, Observe, Ask, Respond) for Native Communities, specifically the available educational opportunities and resources that she could take back for her colleagues to utilize.

Geanna Capitan from the Pueblo of Laguna’s Village of Seama said her favorite presentation was the Federal Indian Law as a Structural Determinant of Health as it covered the terms well and did not go over research. One powerful quote taken from presenter, Alia Hoss, was “Law doesn’t mean justice, and good laws aren’t good if they’re not enforced.”
Native youth are invited and encouraged to attend all three of NIHB’s national conferences. Including youth in Indian health advocacy runs congruent with the organization’s dedication to nurturing the next generation of Indian health leaders. Another way NIHB is working to move this mission forward is through the Health Policy Fellowship for Native youth, which provides youth 18-24 years old with the opportunity to work directly with their respective Tribal leadership to identify one priority health issue and then, with the support of program mentors, learn how to analyze policy in their issue area, create informed recommendations and advocate for change. Learn more about the Health Policy Fellowship .

NIHB extends its week of learning and networking with its 2019 American Indian and Alaska Native National Behavioral Health Conference . Dr. Evan Adams, Coast Salish actor and physician from the Tla’amin First Nation, will give the keynote address during the open plenary on Thursday, May 16. View the agenda for more information .

Learn more about NIHB at:
Social media information:
Facebook: /NIHB1972
Twitter: @NIHB1
Hashtags: #NIHB #TPHS2019 #Nativehealth #ThisisTribalPublicHealth

About the National Indian Health Board
Founded in 1972, NIHB is a 501(c)3 not for profit, charitable organization providing health care advocacy services, facilitating Tribal budget consultation and providing timely information, and other services to all Tribal governments. NIHB also conducts research, provides policy analysis, program assessment and development, national and regional meeting planning, training, technical assistance, program and project management. NIHB presents the Tribal perspective while monitoring, reporting on and responding to federal legislation and regulations. It also serves as conduit to open opportunities for the advancement of American Indian and Alaska Native health care with other national and international organizations, foundations corporations and others in its quest to build support for, and advance, Indian health care issues.
National Indian Health Board
910 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003