Impact of Native Voices’ Interviews at Diné College

SHIPROCK, NM – The Native Voices app with interviews of Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives was recently featured in a program hosted by the library of one of Diné College’s campuses.

In October, the Senator John Pinto Library at the Shiprock campus of Diné College celebrated the loan of iPads that feature the 100+ interviews at the cornerstone of NLM’s Native Voices exhibition.

The Native Voices materials were loaned to the Pinto Library as part of an “iPad outreach” program by the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center (HSLIC). Diné College is the first tribal college established by a Native American tribe (the Navajo Nation) specifically to provide higher educational opportunities for Native Americans.

The group poses in front of a Native Voices banner

L-R: S. Priscilla Weaver, Campus Director, Diné College Shiprock Campus; Samanthi Hewakapuge MLS, Branch Librarian, Diné College Shiprock Campus Library; Patricia Bradley, MLS, Native and Distance Services Librarian, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center; Mamie Denetclaw, RN, CDE, Health Educator, Community Health and Health Promotion Department Northern Navajo Medical Center; and Chandima (Chad) Deegala, PharmD, NCPS-PP Pharmacist Practitioner & Health Educator, Community Health and Health Promotion Department Northern Navajo Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Vernon Ng and Senator John Pinto Library, Diné College)

The morning program on October 19 featured two health providers from the nearby Northern Navajo Medical Center as well as Pat Bradley, a Native and Distance Services librarian from HSLIC. Bradley discussed the changing perceptions of health and wellness among New Mexico’s Native Americans. New Mexico contains three recognized Native American reservations and 19 pueblos.

Chandima (Chad) Deegala, PharmD, a pharmacist and health educator in the Community Health and Health Promotion Department at Northern Navajo Medical Center, added tips on effective communication between providers and Native American patients. Deegala also explained how his training in health disparities helped him “as an outsider” better understand the health needs of Navajo patients.

Mamie Denetclaw, RN, who is a health educator at the Northern Navajo Medical Center, urged Navajo Nation members to work with a certified diabetes educator to help manage diabetes. Ms. Denetclaw, who is member of the Navajo Nation, noted the need to reduce diabetes’ toll on the Navajo Nation as well as among other Native Americans.

In addition, twelve student visitors to the lectures commented on the impact of the Native Voices video interviews, which they experienced for the first time via the iPads at the Pinto Library.

For example, one student said the interviews in the Native Voices app rekindled a personal interest to talk with his grandparents about Native American health and wellness. A second student said the exhibition reminded her to be more aware of (and to eat) healthier foods. A third student said the exhibition “makes me be more of an advocate for healthy living.” A fourth student said she would visit the Native Voices website and download the Native Voices app on her mobile phone. (The Native Voices app is available for iOS and Android platforms.)

The Senator John Pinto Library honors Senator Pinto, who has served the state’s 3rd district since 1977. Sen. Pinto’s district includes Diné College’s Shiprock campus, as well as areas within the Navajo Nation. Sen. Pinto is a member of the Navajo Nation and is the longest, currently serving member of New Mexico’s senate.

Diné College is a  community college with two campuses and four centers in Arizona and New Mexico. Diné College offers bachelor’s and associate’s degrees and enrolls about 1,800 students. Diné is a Navajo word that means “the people.”

The College’s Shiprock campus features a uranium education program that focuses on environmental public health issues, such as radiation exposure, that arise from uranium mining within the Navajo Nation.


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