Conference on American Indian Behavioral Health is April 23-24

· 3 min read

Conference on American Indian Behavioral Health is April 23-24


The health of a tribe can be measured in the physical vitality of its people, but also in their spiritual and mental well-being. These issues and more are the topic of a Great Plains conference April 23-24 in Omaha.

Jennifer Giroux

Wakanyéja: A Conference on American Indian Behavioral Health will bring together tribal community members, respected elders, health advocates, academics, biomedical scientists and tribal health representatives to help better understand community issues and work to address health disparities. More than a dozen conference speakers will engage with these issues from multiple viewpoints and disciplines, including physical, mental, cultural and spiritual factors in behavioral health. The conference is a collaboration between the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Center for Great Plains Studies and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Charles Sitting Bull

The conference is intended to bridge the gap between health professionals and the communities impacted by behavioral health issues. Speakers will address how behavioral health issues develop (including youth risk and protective factors) and which health services and policies seek to address them.

The conference starts with a “Stories of Survival” panel discussion April 23 in the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. The panel will focus on the introduction of alcohol to indigenous communities since the first contact with Europeans, the resulting substance abuse and its impact on these communities. Panelists Frank LaMere, Nora Boesem and Omar Abdul-Rahman will share stories of efforts to address this issue on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Lancer Stephens

The second day of the conference, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, includes more than a dozen speakers on behavioral health, including Juliana Blome, Ruby Gibson, Jennifer Giroux, Fay Givens, Joseph Marshall III, Kay McGowan, Magda Peck, Charles Sitting Bull, Lancer Stephens, Larry Voegele, Melissa Walls, Donald Warne and David Wilson.

Melissa Walls

The registration deadline is April 9. The cost is $15 for students and $75 for others. Supporting organizations include the UNMC College of Public Health and the Munroe-Meyer Institute, Nebraska Medicine, BNSF Railway Foundation, Travel and Transport, the National Institutes of Health and Humanities Nebraska.

For more information and to register, click here or call 402-472-3964.

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