| School's out for the summer, but not for this group of students.
They're participating in a camp organized by UMD's Medical School.
It's geared toward Native American students interested in medicine.
"We do cases in groups, and we diagnose patients and stuff like
that," says Christian Coffman, a senior at the Marshall School.
"We have science and math class where we learn about biology
The 6 week program is meant for high-schoolers, but it's also
designed for undergraduates who are passionate about science. "I'll
tell you about my favorite part first," says Jessica Olive,"
a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. "Anatomy
is really awesome. We get to go down into the lab. We got to see
a brain. We got to talk about brain awareness."
The camp has been around for 5 years, pushing students like
Christian and Jessica to go to college and pursue a degree. "When
less than 50 percent graduate from high school and less than 30
percent get an advanced degree, and most of them are associate degrees--for
a student to get a bachelor's degree makes a huge difference in
the community no matter how it's used," says Dr. Joy Dorscher,
with the Center of American Indian and Minority Health at UMD.
Dorscher is an alumna of the camp herself and eventually became
a doctor. After school, she came back home to serve her community.
Now she hopes these students will do the same. "There are health
needs in those communities," says Dorscher. "The people
who are best suited to meeting those needs are the people who come
from those communities."
These students are committed to that goal. "You always
have that dream of being a doctor one day," says Coffman. "I
thought I'd try to shoot for it." "I grew up in Milwaukee
and came from the under-represented background," says Olive.
"I was thinking maybe I can't make it through college, maybe
I can't do this. "
But Jessica and her peers are now realizing they can. Camp has
brought them one step closer to reaching their dreams of going into
For more information:
of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH)
The Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH) at the
University of Minnesota Medical School strives to raise the health
status of the Native American population by educating Native American
students in the field of health care and Indian health.
A Message from the Director
and welcome to the Center of American Indian and Minority Health
Over the years Ive discovered that there are many who
understand a portion of what we do at the
CAIMH, but few who understand the complete picture. This update
is written to rectify that oversight.
Shortly after the launch of the Duluth School of Medicine in
1972, the dedicated faculty of the school understood the importance
of reaching out to the tribal communities. Funded through the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services Health Careers Opportunities
Program (HCOP), the School launched Native Americans into Medicine
(NAM), an undergraduate summer enrichment program. The work of those
early visionaries led to the development of the Center of American
Indian and Minority Health in 1987.
CAIMH programs are based on the Indian Health Pathway first
developed in the early years. Since that time, we have incorporated
an individualized, competency-based, student centered pathway with
tribal and community connections. It features a five pronged approach
to student and professional development and each of the five themes
are represented in all stages of programming with emphasis, as appropriate,
on the academic level and the individuals needs:
- Service/ Leadership
- Community and Cultural Integration
This is the heart of the Indian Health Pathway at the Center
of American Indian and Minority Health.
It reaches out to students as early as middle and high school
and college undergraduates to encourage their desire and ability
to stay in school, learn science and math, and continue to college
and eventually medical school. It supports Native American medical
students as they face the rigors of medical school on both the Duluth
and Minneapolis campuses, and it supports Fellows in research service
In the upcoming years the Center of American Indian and Minority
Health will continue to address its long held mission of education,
research and service. I am pleased that the University of Minnesota
is second in the nation in graduating Native American medical students.
More than that, these graduates are able to retain cultural beliefs
while gaining their education, through the community that has been
developed within the medical school and the larger Native community.
This is the most important part of our mission and the only part
that will support and feed the other segments of the mission. This
we will continue to do.
Joycelyn Dorscher, M.D.
Center of American Indian and Minority Health