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.

Wakanyéja explores the behavioral health of indigenous peoples through interdisciplinary dialogues with local and regional Native American community members and their respected elders, health advocates, academics, biomedical scientists, and tribal health representatives. The 2019 Great Plains Symposium welcomes all those wishing to learn more about tribal populations and who seek to better understand community issues to work together in addressing health disparities.

Topics specific to behavioral health include socio-cultural determinants of health, biology, health services, health policy and health behaviors including, 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

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 and Winnebago tribal member, 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. This event will take place on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center. This building is located at 6400 University Drive.

April 24: Schedule to come
Conference speakers

Dr. Don Warne, Oglala Lakota, Director, Indians into Medicine at the University of North Dakota

Dr. Kay McGowan, Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee, Anthropology and Native American Studies, Eastern Michigan University, co-creator of the documentary Indian Boarding School: A Survivor's Story

Dr. Fay Givens, Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee, Executive Director of American Indian Services at Michigan, co-creator of the documentary Indian Boarding School: A Survivor's Story

Joseph Marshall III, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. Because he was raised in a traditional native household by his maternal grandparents, his first language is Lakota. He is an author, actor, educator and one of the founders of Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation.

Tim McGowan, president and founder of Networks of Support

Dr. Ruby Gibson, Executive Director of Freedom Lodge

Dr. Magda Peck, Adjunct Professor of Public Health and Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha

Charles Sitting Bull, Oglala Lakota, a Director of behavioral health for Indian Health Service at Pine Ridge Hospital

Dr. Lancer Stephens, Director of Special Populations Outreach and Assistant Professor of Research in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences, College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Larry Voegele, Standing Rock Sioux, Chief Executive Officer at Ponca Health Centers at Omaha

Dr. Melissa Walls, Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biobehavioral Health at the University for Minnesota Medical School at Duluth

Supported by
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