Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health Announces “500 Scholars Initiative”

Initiative will increase educational and employment opportunities for American Indians

Theme(s):
Entrepreneurship & Workforce Development

Baltimore, MD – The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health announced today it is doubling its efforts to improve American Indians’ educational and health status. 

On the occasion of its 25th Anniversary, the Center for American Indian Health’s 500 Scholars Initiative is working to raise $3 million over the next three years to promote education and training opportunities for 500 American Indian and Alaska Natives, through programs spanning high school to post-doctoral education. Initiatives will include programs to help youth finish high school, 25 graduate and doctoral degrees at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and allied Hopkins Schools of Nursing and Medicine, and work-training opportunities at Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian health for post-baccalaureates and post-doctoral scholars.

“The most effective way to eliminate health disparities is through education that allows tribes to take ownership and control of their health systems and solutions,” said Dr. Mathuram Santosham, founding director of Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. “That is why our Center is deeply committed to the 500 Scholars Initiative and to accelerating our training and scholarship opportunities.”

While once the healthiest people on earth, American Indian people today face critical health disparities including the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, youth suicide, chronic liver disease, injuries, pneumonia, heart disease, and substance abuse of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S. Health and educational status are inextricably linked. According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, American Indians lag 20-25 years behind the general population in both health and education equality—a fact that denies them equal opportunity and diminishes their capacity to lead productive, fulfilling lives.

The Center for American Indian Health, as part of its mission to raise the health status and autonomy of American Indian and Alaska Native people, is committed to providing increased educational opportunities, with a focus on rigorously training the next generation of Native health care providers and health scientists. Empowering Native-led solutions to tribes’ health issues is imperative to the current and future health and well-being of Native peoples.

“Many members of our tribe have received scholarship support and training from Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health,” said Ronnie Lupe, chairman of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. “I am grateful for the Center’s commitment to provide increased and much-needed educational opportunities in the years ahead, as this is a critical step toward improving the health of our people.” 

Since 2001, the Center has supported more than 1,500 American Indian scholars—representing 45 tribal communities—in pursuing higher education and health careers. Many now hold leadership roles in their tribes.

“The team at Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health supported my development and played an instrumental role in guiding my career,” said Delvin Yazzie, a member of the Navajo Nation and Acting Director of the Navajo Epidemiology Center. “Their Training Program is playing a critical role in addressing a large gap of Native peoples trained in the public health sciences, which is imperative to improving the health status of Native American communities for future generations,” said Delvin, who received a Master of Health Science degree from Johns Hopkins in 2002 with scholarship and mentoring support from the Center.  

About the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

Founded in 1991, the mission of Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is to work in partnership with tribal communities to raise their health status and health leadership capacity to the highest possible level.

Based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Center has satellite offices across the Southwest. Its programs currently reach more than 50 tribal nations in 15 states. The Center’s historic partnerships with tribes have achieved landmark public health breakthroughs credited with saving over 60 million children’s lives worldwide. To learn more, visit http://caih.jhu.edu.

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