2019 Symposium

2019 Symposium


APRIL 23-24, 2019


Registration and full schedule coming soon

Great Plains Conference

The health of a tribe can be measured in the vitality of its people, but perhaps more so in their spiritual wellbeing. The diverse paths people take to health can lead to new ground in discussions of American Indian health.

The 2019 Great Plains Symposium explores the behavioral health of indigenous peoples through interdisciplinary dialogues with Native American elders, community advocates, biomedical scientists, academics, and health care practitioners.

Specific topics include fetal alcohol effect and syndrome, the socio-cultural determinants of behavioral health, suicide, as well as youth risk and protective factors. Significant and lasting change can only happen when those who represent indigenous communities engage with one another to support cultural traditions, biomedical research and clinical practice. This conference is intended to bridge the gap between academics, scientists, physicians, and the communities impacted by behavioral health issues.

Conference co-hosts
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April 23 pre-conference event

For more than 100 years alcohol was sold in Whiteclay, Neb., primarily to the resident of the dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 200 yards to the north in South Dakota, with devastating effects for thousands of children and families. Join Native American activist Frank LaMere, Nora Boesem, mother and foster parent of children affected by fetal alcohol syndrome and founder of Roots to Wings, a non-profit advocacy organization; and Omar Abdul-Rahman, M.D., FASD expert and director of genetic medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute, to hear the stories of lives impacted, efforts to stop the flow of alcohol onto the reservation and work being done to mitigate the impact.

Conference speakers

Tim McGowan

Dr. Kay McGowan and Dr. Fay Givens

Charles Sitting Bull, director of behavioral health for Indian Health Service, Pine Ridge Hospital

Dr. Magda Peck

Supported by
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