UCONJ 530 Indian Health Issues Course


IHP Home

IHP Requirements

Famed 681 Clerkship Alternatives

Apply to IHP

UCONJ530 Indian Health Issues

FAMED 680 Readings

FAMED 681 Readings

Medicine Wheel Society





As future healthcare and human service providers, it is essential that students have a strong knowledge of health issues and policies which may impact patients/clients and practice. UCONJ 530 is designed to intensify the understanding of historical and contemporary issues in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) health. 

This course is developed to help any health sciences and human services student interested in AI/AN health further explore AI/AN contributions to healthcare: Traditional AI/AN medicine, current disease epidemiology, development of Federal Indian health policy, the Indian Health Service, rural and urban tribal health programs, and consequences of major legislation on AI/AN health.

Course Objectives and Community Service Requirement

SPECIFIC COURSE OBJECTIVES:  Upon the completion of UCONJ 530, student should be able to:

  • Understand the historical background of federal policy toward AI/AN, emphasizing health issues with a gradual progression toward present Indian health policy.
  • Enable the student to analyze and determine the intent of past legislation on AI/AN health programs, as well as current Indian health policies and programs.
  • Analyze the historical development, purposes, and functionality of the Indian Health Services (IHS).
  • Examine the purposes and functions of reservation health programs, community Urban Indian Health programs, and Federal and State health programs. Analyze how they relate to the Indian Health Service and determine what effects they have on AI/AN health care.
  • Understand the major diseases and causes of mortality affecting AI/AN in the past, present and future. Compare the current status of AI/AN health with other minority and white populations.
  • Enable students to identify and define the nature of programs, recommended solutions, and determine a path of service, and future directions for AI/AN health care.
  • Understand traditional Indian medicine and its current use in the care of Indian health problems along with modern western medicine.
  • Learn to do a sensitive, cultural, belief/spiritual assessment.
  • Gain an appreciation for AI/AN contributions to modern medicine and health.


This course includes a community service component which requires students to participate in a AIAN community event, preferably off campus.  Please be ready to spend at least 4 hours participating and reflecting upon one of the options which will be provided, or have approved by your instructor. This activity provides you with an opportunity to learn about the various AIAN cultures and traditional activities that exist and function locally.  Please be respectful and appreciative of the effort that has been made to welcome you into these activities, which are cultural and spiritual in nature.  You will be asked to write a Reflection paper about your experience. We will discuss the options and you will be able to sign up during class.

Course Content

UCONJ 530 Issues in Indian Health

Week 1

Introduction and Course Outline: Jordan P. Lewis, PhD, MSW (Aleut)

The Re-emergence of Traditional Indian Medicine: clinical implications Part I and Health Disparities for American Indians Part I: Walt Hollow, MD (Assiniboine-Sioux)

Week 2

Gift Giving: Jordan P. Lewis, PhD, MSW (Aleut)

The Re-emergence of Traditional Indian Medicine: clinical implications, Part II and Health Disparities for American Indians: Problem Based Learning CasePart II: Walt Hollow, MD (Assiniboine-Sioux)

Week 3

Historical Trauma: Molly Fuentes, MD (Warm Springs/Wasco)

-Disability & Rehab Disparities in AI/AN Communities: Molly Fuentes, MD (Warm Springs/Wasco)

Week 4

Native American Tribal Policy and Sovereignty: Brian Cladoosby, Swinomish, NCAI President

Week 5

-Panel on Indian Health Systems: Abigail Echohawk, MS (Pawnee); Greg Maddox, MD (Choctaw); Sam Watson, (Lakota)

Week 6

-Native Dental Health: Bea Gandara, DDS, MSD

-Healthy Aging in Native Communities: Jordan P. Lewis, PhD, MSW (Aleut)

Week 7

Elders Panel in each WWAMI site.

Anchorage Elder panel

Seattle Elder panel with Chris Teuton, PhD (Cherokee): Connie McCloud (Puyallup), Elder and Captain of Puyallup Canoe Family; Glen Pinkham, Traditional Foods and Hunting, Sweat lodge Leader for Thunderbird House.

Week 8

Terry Maresca, MD (Mohawk) Plant Medicine Workshop

Week 9

Current Research in Behavioral Health, Denise Dillard, PhD, (Inupiat Eskimo), Director of Research, Southcentral Foundation, and Case Study: When Our Water Returns(Diabetes, Traditional Foods, and Sovereignty)Tara Ford, PhD, MS and NormaAlicia Pino, MA (Purépecha/Comcáac/Guaicura) When Our Water Returns (Diabetes, Traditional Foods, Sovereignty)

Week 10

Seattle: Talking Circle: Annette Squetimkin-Anquoe, PhD, MA (Coleville Confederated Tribes)

Anchorage: Potluck with Elders