Welcoming Dr. Adriann Begay to HEAL

The UCSF HEAL Initiative is thrilled to announce Dr. Adriann Begay, veteran Navajo Nation Indian Health Services (IHS) employee, physician, mentor, leader, and HEAL alumni, will join the HEAL team this month. Dr. Begay brings over 20 years of experience working at Gallup Indian Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals serving Native American Patients, as a physician, mentor, administrator, and leader. 
Raised on the Navajo reservation, Dr. Begay is Tábaahi (Edge of the Water clan) and born for Bít’ahnii (Folded Arms People clan). Her maternal grandparents are Ta’néészahnii (Badlands People clan) and paternal grandparents are Tl’aashchí’í (Red Cheek People clan). While raising three children, she completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Arizona; and received a medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine through the Indians into Medicine program. She completed her residency in Family Medicine at the University of Arizona and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice. 
Dr. Begay worked for the Indian Health Service for 21 years initially at Salt River Clinic under Phoenix Indian Medical Center for 4 years as a primary care provider. Then at Gallup Indian Medical Center as an urgent care physician and administrator for 17 years. Her career is dedicated to elevating healthcare for American Indians/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN). Increasing the pipeline of AI/AN students who can come home and care for their people is a major part of her dedication.  
Dr. Begay’s greatest accomplishments are being a mother of three, being a grandmother to nine beautiful grandchildren, being a daughter to a strong Navajo woman who she can now care for, being a wife to a caring artistic husband, and always being a source of support for family, colleagues, friends and anyone who needs even a hug or pat on the back.
Dr. Begay’s 20+ year career in the field of healthcare, including deep relationships with all the major American Indian and rural health organizations, brings unique assets to bear in her role which is critical to HEAL’s future. 
During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Begay served as a trusted leader, partner and advisor to HEAL in her capacity at the Indian Health Service. She spoke extensively to HEAL fellows and national audiences alike about Indigenous history in the United States, Indian Health Service underfunding, and her focus on resilience in the face of disproportionate impact of COVID on Navajo communities.   
At HEAL, Dr. Begay will be leading HEAL’s Strategic Plan goals of 1) expanding to additional domestic sites in addition to Navajo Nation, 2) designing and building a pathway for Native American health workers to transform as they work with the underserved both in Navajo Nation and nationally 3) advocating for policy and programs on behalf of Native American health care equity, and 4) serving as a mentor to fellows based in Navajo Nation.

HEAL is thrilled to have her join our team.
HEAL Community News & Stories
Blue Corn Harvest with Denee Bex & HEAL Fellows in Navajo Nation
In Shiprock, New Mexico, Denee Bex circles with her nieces and other HEAL Fellows serving on the Navajo Nation to gather blue corn, strip them of the husks and lay them out to dry. They roast and grind it to make a traditional Navajo dish called blue corn mush

Denee and her husband have been growing this blue corn in her backyard for a few years. The heirloom corn comes from her husband’s family from Tohatchi, NM and has been passed down several generations.  
Denee is a Registered Dietitian, has a Masters Degree in Public Health and is a 2020-2022 HEAL Site fellow at Tséhootsooí Medical Center. She was born and raised on the Navajo Reservation. Her mother’s family is from Tselaní-Cottonwood and she is Naneesht’azhí Ta’chii’nii (Zuni Division of Red Running into the Water Clan) and born for Ma’ii deeshgiizhnii (Coyote Pass Clan).  

Hunger, food insecurity, lack of access to high quality nutritious foods is a major structural determinant of health all over the world. Throughout the HEAL community, there are numerous fierce advocates connecting food deeply with health. 

Indigenous leader Donald Warne writes about the social determinants of American Indian Nutritional health. He describes a way forward in this paper noting that American Indian populations with disproportionate disease have histories we must understand “including historical trauma, boarding schools, adverse childhood experiences, poverty, federal food programs, and food deserts.”

Denee follows in this tradition. Her example also inspires other Navajo youth behind her to follow the example of Navajo health workers who live the work relentlessly advocate for a future where their people have access to health as their human right. 

Navajo fellows who live the work relentlessly advocate for a future where their people have access to health as their human right. Pushing towards health equity is the work of a community, and must be held by many vantage points to drive impact.
Charles Malindi, RN, HEAL Site Fellow at Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo (Partners in Health), Malawi, 2019-2021

HEAL Alumni Charles Malindi a trained maternal health nurse working in Neno District in the Southern Region of Malawi recently earned a promotion at the Dambe Model Health Center. This is the first time that the in charge has been someone trained as a nurse, a testament to his leadership, hard work and passion for patient care and health equity.

"I am very happy that I have been promoted from the position of Maternal health nurse to Dambe Model Health Centre incharge. This shows that my employer appreciates my hard work. I have confidence that I will deliver my services to expectations of my juniors and community because of the concepts I learned throughout my journey of HEAL fellowship." - Charles Malindi, RN
Humanitarian Service Award to Sam Percy, MD HEAL Rotating Fellow (2019-2021)

We congratulate Dr. Sam Percy, UCSF Pediatric Anesthesia Fellow and former HEAL Fellow, on his well-deserved Humanitarian Service Award from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)! The award “recognizes one anesthesiology trainee who, during the course of his or her medical training, has made a significant contribution to global anesthesia care through organized humanitarian outreach activities, in the US or abroad.” 

Dr. Percy was born on the Navajo Native American Reservation northwest New Mexico. During his time at HEAL he split his time between providing anesthesia and critical care on the Navajo Nation in the rural US and living in rural Malawi to provide and teach anesthesia. He has been engaged with quality improvement projects and is constantly thinking about ways to improve the quality of care for his patients in the hospital as well as the quality of life for his patients outside of the hospital. Read more

Shoaib Khan, MD, HEAL Rotating Fellow (2018-2020) Improving Access to Care for Patients with Opioid Use Disorder

After medical school, medical research and residency, Dr. Khan pursued further training in Global Health with HEAL and provided care on the Navajo Nation and in West Africa. 

"That was probably one of the most life-changing times in my life. It really solidified what I wanted to do as my career, which is underserved care.” - Shoaib Khan, MD

Today, Dr. Khan is training physicians at UCSF Fresno to deliver Medically Assisted Treatment to patients with opiate addiction disorder. Read more

Apply to the HEAL Fellowship
We are accepting applications for HEAL’s 2022-2024 Global Health Fellowship cohort. HEAL is recruiting physicians interested in immersive training in global health, health equity, advocacy and leadership. 

Fellowship Applicants may be eligible for a stipend of up to $25,000 for loan repayment

Visit our website for more details and to find out if you're eligible
On Indigenous Peoples' day and beyond, we work together for a world where our first citizens are first. 
Below are resources for learning about Indigenous resilience and issues that impact health of Native communities across the occupied United States.
  • Indigenous People’s Day Toolkit by Illuminatives offers a guide to educators and activists to learn, teach and support on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This guide is improved and updated to meet needs during COVID-19.
  • #LandBack a guide for non-Indigenous people living on Indigenous lands to learn about the critical movement to repatriate land back.
  • Native-Land.ca fosters conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations, through educational resources such as their map and Territory Acknowledgement Guide.
  • Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice by Rupa Marya and Raj Patel reveal the links between health and structural injustices and offer a new deep medicine towards healing our bodies and our world.
  • Reservoir Dogs a striking comedy that follows Indigenous teens in rural Oklahoma who maneuver their way to the faraway land of California. A powerful indigenous story by an indigenous led creative team.
  • This Land - Season 2 a podcast discusses how the far right is using Native children and family separation to continue deepening a well of pain and trauma in Native communities.
  • An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian and activist, offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.
  • Towards a New Era for the Indian Health System Jessica Leston, M.P.H., and Brigg Reilley, M.P.H. highlight challenges and opportunities to foster transformative, rather than transactional, relationships between the federal government and tribal nations health systems.
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