I cut & pasted various different articles to give you a good idea of what the camp is about. Even though it didn’t fall on an ideal day (my Dad’s 70th birthday when they were actually visiting) I rearranged things, because this population is close to my heart, and the mission of the camp important. Three of us presented for Speech & Hearing Sciences. We wanted to introduce some aspects of the career (SLP’s have a very diverse scope of practice with a lot of subsets) AND simultaneously give the teens good health info for themselves. So we focused of voice (anti smoking, tobacco, & drinking), ears (noise-induced hearing loss, ipods in particular), and the brain (TBI = don’t drink & drive, wear helmets). I think it went really well, and most of the students were engaged and excited. Here’s that camp info I told you about:
The result of an earlier student leadership exercise to give the summer institute a native American-sounding name, Na-ha-shnee is an amalgamation of the words Native American High School Summer Nursing Institute. It has no literal translation in any tribal language. Na-ha-shnee encourages Native American youth to explore and pursue a career in the health sciences while providing learning experiences with native health care providers as teachers and role models.
Fewer than 20 Native Americans across the United States have earned a PhD in nursing. One of them, Robbie Paul, Native American Health Sciences director at Washington State University (WSU) Spokane, is dedicated to increasing the number of Native Americans practicing health sciences in the Northwest. Native Americans represent less than .5% of the health care workforce, and the Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Science Institute is taking steps to engage and expose Native American students to careers in nursing, medicine, exercise physiology, pharmacy, speech and hearing, and more.
The camp is part of a larger effort to solve the shortage of health care professionals in the Native American community, said Robbie Paul, director of the school’s Native American Health Sciences program and founder of the camp. Paul, a Nez Perce member who has a doctorate in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga, said the camp aims to build confidence in students who might deal with teachers who have low expectations of them.
For more than 17 years, Native American high school students representing various tribes from the Northwest have been given the chance to participate in Na-ha-shnee. Participants in the Na-ha-shnee Heath Sciences Institute represent the Spokane, Colville, Yakama, Snoqualmie, Puyallup, Lummi, Umatilla, Blackfoot-Cherokee, Shoshone-Paiute, Cherokee, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Shoshone-Bannock, Tlingit, Chippewa Cree and Siletz tribes. They come from Washington and Oregon. The program encourages youth to try out a career in the health sciences by providing hands-on learning experiences with Native American health care providers and health science and nursing students.
When the camp first began in 1995, its sole focus was on nursing. However, once students began expressing interest in learning about other career areas available in heath care, the camp expanded to respond to these interests. Now, Na-ha-shnee includes workshops on nursing, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, exercise physiology, speech and hearing, and brings Native American health care providers in to be teachers and role models for the students. The camp has grown from six to 12 days and added math, English and leadership training. Students also practice writing scholarship essays and interviewing with admissions counselors.
Na-ha-shnee is open to high school students who will be entering the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades in fall. The application process includes a written essay on why they want to come to camp and also explaining their interest in health care. Applicants must also have a minimum 2.5 GPA, have at least taken Algebra I, and have at least a C in their math and science classes. Traditionally offered exclusively to Native American high school students, the program was expanded last year to include students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Na-ha-shnee program partnered with Creating a Nursing Path, a program consisting of 27 high school students. Funded by a workforce diversity grant, Creating a Nursing Path is led by Janet Katz, PhD, RN, associate professor from WSU College of Nursing in Spokane. The purpose of this program is to address the need to graduate baccalaureate-prepared nurses from disadvantaged backgrounds
In its 19th year, the camp has participants from 13 tribes, some from as far away as Arizona’s Navajo Nation. Attendance has grown through recruitment visits to tribal and urban schools, word-of-mouth and the Internet, Paul said. Of the more than 340 campers over the years, Paul estimates about 70 percent of them have gone on to college.
Paul presented the purpose of the camp as threefold: academic, leadership and cultural. For the latter, Paul uses stories to teach the students life lessons embedded in their tribal heritage. Paul said that the experience is both an academic and social one for those in attendance. In addition to taking English, science, and leadership classes, students get to experience different aspects of college life such as living on campus, dorm life, and having a roommate.