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UW Pediatrics

Center for Indigenous Health

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The Center for Indigenous Health was established in July 2023 to provide the University of Washington's indigenous residents and physicians with a supportive and communal environment. In 2017, of 174,570 full-time academic faculty, only 0.48% were AIAN. 
Due to the severe shortage of indigenous doctors, Dr. Jason Deen and Millie Kennedy strive to reach out and recruit three indigenous targeted groups with three primary goals.

CIH Goals & Objectives: 

1. Increase the number of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) medical students in Washington State by focusing on learners from elementary school through college to strengthen the capacity to matriculate to medical school. 

2. Support current AIAN medical students to ensure their retention for academic success and foster a sense of community. 

3. Grow the support system for AIAN academic faculty in the UWSOM to guarantee academic progress and cultural humility for AIAN health issues while actively recruiting new AIAN faculty for successful academic careers. 

"It's been well documented that if a patient is cared for by a doctor who looks like them, is from their culture, and understands them and their family, that patient is more likely to trust the doctor and follow their recommendations," said Deen. This trust can play a significant role in the degree to which patients seek and benefit from healthcare. Indigenous peoples experience higher rates of ill health, and a lack of cultural understanding can further contribute to major structural barriers for Indigenous populations.

The Center is located in the University of Washington Medical Center's RR wing in the Department of Pediatrics. Deen and Kennedy continue to recruit the remainder of the team. They actively participate in conferences to reach their target groups and raise awareness about the Center.

For more information, please refer to the article on the Center for Indigenous Health or contact Kuwlkadim Jared