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The Equity ‘n Policy Institute: A Community-Academic Training Tool-Box for Tackling Structural Racism in Research and Policy Analysis 
Submitted by: Lisa Cacari Stone, PhD

Dr. Zinzi Bailey, nationally recognized social epidemiologist, currently a research scientist at the University of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, drew an audience of about 80 participations in a national webinar sponsored by the TREE Center on June 26th, 2020. Her talk “‘ Deconstructing Structural Racism Through Research: A Call to Action in Light of Racial Inequalities in Experiences with Police Violence and COVID-19 ” emphasized the detrimental health impacts of structural and institutional discrimination within the intersection of the public health and criminal justice systems.

Dr. Bailey called attention to COVID-19 and how it has brought to light deep rooted structural inequities and racism that were always there and that lead to disproportionate impacts among marginalized racial groups in this country. “Our country’s pandemic response (or lack of) has magnified the systematic dismantling of the American social safety-net.”

 The discussion focused on the need to develop comprehensive policy interventions that recognize structural racism as the root problem and for decision-makers to avoid a patchwork solutions to prevent unfair treatment in the next pandemic. Dr. Bailey called attention to different levels of racism (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and structural). She noted that “racism is not an event, it is a process and going to back to normal is not an option. We need to move forward with systematic investment in fundamental reimagining of the very systems that are rooted in racism and devaluation of black and brown lives.”

“Racism is not an event, it is a process”

What does this mean for the TREE Center? What is our call to action?
As a national research center of excellence dedicated to finding solutions that ameliorate health racial and ethnic health wounds, we have a moral obligation to recognize the pervasive legacy of racism, colonization, genocide and discrimination. Moving forward in our last two years of funding (July 2020-June 2022) the TREE Center is dedicating our science to explicitly examine the intersectional systems of oppression through our collaborative research and policy analysis with community partners. On August 10th and August 11th, we are launching the “Equity ‘n Policy Institute” online in order to equip community-academic partnerships with policy analysis tools (i.e. equity policy briefs and digital stories) and to engage in policy dialogues that inform and implement policy change through evidence-based discussions.

For more information contact: lcacari-stone@salud.unm.edu 505-690-4404 

Additional Structural Racism Articles:

Why Are So Many Native Americans Dying From Coronavirus?
Submitted by: Hazel James, San Juan Community Collaborative for Health Equity Coordinator

The San Juan Collaborative for Health Equity utilizes decolonized methodologies in partnership with schools, farmers, and working families to create equitable communities rooted in harmony, balance, and compassion. SJCHE works with grassroots Navajo communities to address environmental injustice and health inequities in Navajo Nation, particularly in San Juan, Rio Arriba, and McKinley Counties.

The SJCHE is involved in COVID-19 relief efforts. In March 2020, SJCHE pulled together local community organizers, grassroots groups, and other partners to discuss how to provide aid to at-risk children and vulnerable families who lack the resources to comply with social distancing protocols to protect high-risk individuals and households. Group activities eventually combined with the larger Navajo-Hopi COVID Relief effort to share best practices, protocols, information and resources to address this pandemic.

Janene Yazzie and Hazel James are the designated coordinators for the New Mexico side of the Navajo Nation as part of this larger effort. Volunteers, community organizers, community health representatives and chapter representatives have worked together to solicit information for requests to identify high-need families in remote locations. They have been providing necessary food and supplies to families with high-risk individuals in their household. As a longer-term strategy, SJCHE realizes that in addition to food distribution, going back to more traditional relationship with the land will help the Navajo people get through the pandemic. SJCHE highlights the importance of seeds and gardens as way of reverting back to planting squash, corn, and melon. By improving the connection to the land and food access, this will help to alleviate health disparities that persist in Diné communities due to infrastructural inequities and historical traumas. This will also help to ensure that the people and the land continue to exist and thrive.

TREE Center Monthly Meeting: COVID-19 and Historical Trauma: Navigating Collective Emotional and Individual Responses for American Indians and Other Oppressed Populations

Friday July 24th, 2020 from 9:00AM-12:00PM

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD; Deidre P. Begay, PhD; Ryan Sanchez, Program Coordinator.

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD  (Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota), is Associate Professor, Clinician Educator, UNM Psychiatry& Behavioral Sciences, and TREE Center co-PI. Dr. Yellow Horse Brave Heart is a co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on UNM TREE Center for Advancing Behavioral Health, and NIH Center of Excellence in Health Disparities. She is Principal Investigator (PI) on NIMH R34 Randomized Pilot Clinical Trial:  Iwankapiya  (Healing): Historical Trauma Intervention and Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (completed); outpatient group psychotherapy for depression and PTSD symptoms, two tribal sites Northern Plains reservation and Southwest Urban American Indian Community, and Principal investigator (PI) on NIMHD Mescalero (Apache) Tribal Preventive and Early Mental Health Intervention (with high school reservation youth, focused on suicidal risk) 1P20MD004811-01. Dr. Yellow Horse Brave Heart developed the field of historical trauma interventions for American Indians and Alaska Natives; Founded the  Takini  (Survivor) Network/Takini Institute in 1992. Her prior academic appointments include – University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, Associate Professor; Columbia University School of Social Work, Associate Professor, and New York State Psychiatric Institute (Columbia Medical School). Dr. Yellow Horse Brave Heart is author of multiple papers dedicated to understanding Historical Trauma, Unresolved Grief and Healing for diverse American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

Dr. Deidre P. Begay, PhD, Post-Doc Fellow at UNM with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Sciences Division of Community Behavioral Health. Dr. Begay is a Diné psychologist in training whose primary focus is addressing multicultural issues, specifically how systemic racism impacts mental health in American Indian communities. Dr. Begay completed her doctoral training in Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University and competed her pre-doctoral internship with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center where she honed her clinical and research skills as an Indigenous Psychologist. She currently provides culturally informed clinical services at the Pueblo of San Felipe. 

Ryan Sanchez  carries years of experience in collecting client-level data on a number of SAMHSA grants with the Pueblo of San Felipe. As a community member of the Pueblo of San Felipe, Ryan is able to share data outcomes and findings to community members, tribal leaders and elders in a culturally appropriate manner. Ryan has experience as a youth mentor working on suicide and substance abuse prevention efforts; representing youth voice in community, state-wide and grantee meetings nationwide. Ryan currently works as a Program Coordinator for UNM’s Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Division of Community Behavioral Health. His role includes data collection, reporting and management.

Zoom Link
Zoom Password: 048036
Understanding Interdisciplinary Career Paths in Population Health

Wednesday August 12th, 2020 from 12:00PM - 1:30PM

The IAPHS (Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science) Student Committee is pleased to announce its new three-part training series “Launching a Career as an Interdisciplinary Scholar: A Training Series.” As a collaborative, cross-disciplinary population health organization, IAPHS is uniquely positioned to guide the next generation of population health scholars. The organization’s leadership and members bring a wealth of knowledge and training based on their graduate school experiences, post-graduate professional appointments, and current roles as mentors and supervisors. These experiences provide key insight into the methodological skills, substantive knowledge bases, and professional activities that are most valuable to the development of excellent population health scholars. Furthermore, these diverse experiences provide key insights into the nuances of navigating career paths and opportunities in population health.

The content of this event will focus on highlighting careers across all sectors, including government, industry, non-profits, and academia. Panelists will reflect on the highlights and difficulties of their training, career, and advice to young population health scientists.

Click here  to learn more and to register for the event.
UNM Fall 2020-Spring 2021 Course

Health & Social Inequalities: Community Research & Action with Refugees/Immigrants

Applications Due: August 14th, 2020 at 5:00PM MDT

Applications are now being accepted for Cohort 9 of the NCRE Scholars Program, which will begin in September, 2020.

The NCRE Scholars program is situated within the Native Children’s Research Exchange (NCRE) network. NCRE brings together researchers studying child development from birth through emerging adulthood in Native communities. NCRE Scholars provides career development support and mentoring to early career investigators and late-stage graduate students interested in research on substance use and disorder and Native child and adolescent development. 
Eligible applicants include  junior faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and late-stage doctoral students  in psychology, sociology, public health, social work, anthropology, education, or related disciplines.  Applicants must intend to pursue a research career focused on substance use and disorder and Native child and adolescent development.   Application materials should reflect this intent and focus. The application process is described below as well as on our website ( www.ncreconnect.org ) by clicking on the  NCRE Scholars tab .

Please contact Nancy Rumbaugh Whitesell or Michelle Sarche for more information.