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We are pleased to introduce you to members of our team hired over the past year. The Center is fortunate to be able to bring on such a talented and dedicated group of professionals to advance our mission to improve the health status, self-sufficiency, and health leadership of Native people.

COVID-19 response update

Since last March, our Center has been embedded with tribal organizations and the Indian Health Service in comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation and prevention strategies.  We have learned important lessons about how to interpret data with tribal leaders to inform policies about lockdowns and re-openings.  In addition, we have developed community-based outreach systems that pair contact tracing with wrap-around services to help families quarantine and isolate safely, delivering water, food, medicines and hygiene kits directly to homes. We have also been engaged in convalescent plasma treatment trials, helping tribes distribute vaccines to community members, and developing new technologies to promote better diagnostic testing, symptom monitoring and mapping of hotspots. As the pandemic continues, we must continue to give strong support to our well-skilled and courageous Native American workforce and find resources to support families to stay safe and well physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Over the past nine months, hundreds of caring individuals, foundations, corporations and humanitarian agencies have made contributions of all sizes to our COVID-19 Response Fund. We are tremendously grateful for each and every contribution.

Center staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Healthcare personnel on the Center team are excited and grateful to have received the COVID-19 vaccine. CAIH team members have supported more than a dozen vaccination events on Navajo Nation and White Mountain Apache Tribal lands, including a large event for elders in Shiprock, NM on January 6. Many of our staff expressed that it was one of the most gratifying and meaningful days of their careers.

Vaccine distribution on the Navajo Nation

Navajo community members came to the Shiprock Chapter House on January 6 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Shiprock Indian Health Service Unit. The line of cars stretched seven miles long, and over 1,700 individuals ages 65 and older received the first dose. In these photos, our team members Megan Gardner (left) administers the vaccine and Melinda Charley (right) explains the vaccine, including instructions for when to come back for the second dose.

Azhe’é Bidziil (Strong Fathers) program

We are pleased to be launching a new program called Azhe’é Bidziil (Strong Fathers), whose goals are to increase the economic stability of Native American fathers and their families, reduce violence in rural tribal communities, and promote healthy relationships and strong co-parenting skills.

The program is based on two of the Center’s evidence-based programs, Respecting the Circle of Life and the Arrowhead Business Group youth entrepreneurship program, and was designed in collaboration with the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe. 

Read more.

UNICEF USA supports well-being of Indigenous COVID-19 frontline workers

The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health has received funding from UNICEF USA to support the development and dissemination of a culturally adapted Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide and online training course for health professionals.

With this project, the Center continues work to support mental health in Native communities. During a crisis such as this pandemic, the need for mental health support and care often outpaces the availability of services from health professionals. To help meet these needs, PFA is an intervention meant to equip frontline health workers with basic skills to support their own mental well-being, co-workers and those they serve, in addition to their own families. PFA training programs have been used globally in the wake of disaster events and are a promising tool to meet urgent needs for mental health support.

Read more.

Major support received from Rockefeller Foundation Catalytic Capital

The Center is tremendously grateful to have been awarded a $1.1 million grant from Rockefeller Foundation Catalytic Capital to help fulfill Rockefeller’s testing and COVID-19 mitigation commitment to Native Americans, who are prioritized by the foundation’s mission to serve the poorest people in the world and whose inequities have been made worse by this virus.

This is the continuation of a public health story marked by agility and builds upon support our Center received from the Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) to mount a comprehensive testing, contact tracing and support model when the first wave of the pandemic struck Southwestern tribal communities. The continuation of this work will continue a public health story marked by agility and resilience to deliver community-driven life-saving support for Native Americans, and a model of pandemic containment for the world.

Read more.


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