ASB 2011-2012 - Rural and American Indian Health Disparities

Basic Information
Application Process: 
ASB 2011-2012
Trip Name: 
Rural and American Indian Health Disparities
Trip Location: 
Western South Dakota
Air Travel Trip: 
This trip will travel by air.
Number of Participants: 
Trip Description: 

The first Alternative Spring Break trip offered through Stanford Medical School occurred in March of 2009 when seven medical students traveled to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota to learn about Lakota culture and the health issues affecting the community with the lowest life expectancy in the United States. However, it was noted that service without forethought, planning, reflection and sustainability is a disservice both to the community and to the students themselves—an educational opportunity missed. Thus, this service-learning trip, “Rural and American Indian Health Disparities,” seeks to connect the classroom to the upstream factors that lead to health disparities faced by rural and American Indian communities and then engage students in service projects that directly address these factors.

The first part of the course will consist of classroom instruction, lectures and discussions that will expose students to the challenges and promise of American Indian health care, rural health care and the role of communities as leaders and problem solvers.  Over the nine week winter quarter, students will be given reading assignments that pertain to American Indian culture, current research in Native American health and readings in the methods and practice of community based participatory research.  Additionally, each week, a guest lecturer will present on a topic of related importance such as community based research, health disparities, cultural competence and Lakota culture systems. Time will also be allotted to allow the students to formulate a plan for communicating with and engaging the community partners we will be working with in South Dakota.  Furthermore, students will have an opportunity to set personal and team goals and timelines regarding potential community projects.

The second portion of the course will be a one-week trip to western South Dakota with the assistance of the following community partners: Indian Health Services, Habitat for Humanity, Sinte Gleska University, Wiconi Wakan Suicide Prevention Center and Buffalo Jump Youth Center. By meeting and working with these partners, students will have the opportunity to spend time with clinicians, public health nurses, and dynamic community leaders in addition to directly addressing the social determinants of health through direct service projects.

Trip Leaders
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Adrian Begaye

Adrian Begaye is a third year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine with a concentration in clinical research.  He grew up in Window Rock, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation and later attended the University of Arizona, earning his BS in both Political Science and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics.  He later performed research at the National Institutes of Health, the major biomedical research branch of the U.S. Government.  Since starting medical school at Stanford, Adrian has been the co-chair of the Stanford American Indigenous Medical Students (SAIMS) organization.  Through collaborations with other medical school organizations through SUMMA (Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance), SAIMS works to promote diversity in medical schools and provide support to students interested in medicine.  Through this course, we will present a portrait of life on a reservation while introducing many facets of the healthcare challenges and disparities faced by these communities.

Shane Morrison

Shane Morrison is a fourth year medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, where his scholarly concentration is community health. He is a native of Tucson, Arizona and completed a BS/MS in Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Arizona. During his time at Stanford he has been able to conduct global health projects in Albania and Kosovo along with interning with the World Health Organization in Kosovo. He was also a past co-chair of Stanford American Indigenous Medical Students. Having been to Rosebud Reservation for the past three years as a trip leader for Stanford medical students, Shane is excited to welcome new faces into our wonderful course. He is very excited about the potential of community engagement in addressing health disparities amongst rural and American Indian communities and hopes to spend some of his time during residency at an Indian Health Services hospital.