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Am J Pharm Educ. 2014 Nov 15;78(9):172. doi: 10.5688/ajpe789172.

The Sustained, Positive Impact of a Native American Cultures and Health Course on Students' Education and Practice-Related Choices.

Author information

1
School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To encourage pharmacy students to elect education and practice opportunities in Native American communities, including careers with the Indian Health Service (IHS).

METHODS:

Students in 2 elective courses were educated on various aspects of contemporary Native American life in urban and reservation environments, including cultural traditions, social and health-related challenges, health access disparities, and cultural approaches to health and wellness. The teachers were Native American leaders and healers primarily from Plains tribes, as well as non-Native American practitioners affiliated with IHS hospitals and tribal health facilities. Students kept reflective journals, and a subset spent 5 days immersed in a rural Navajo community where they lived and worked alongside IHS practitioners and Community Health Representatives.

RESULTS:

Student engagement with IHS opportunities was tracked for 11 years. Of the 69 pharmacy students who completed the electives, 11 applied for a Junior Commissioned Officer Student Training and Externship Program (Jr. COSTEP) (8 accepted, 6 completed), 43 requested one or more IHS APPEs (43 accepted, 32 completed, 8 in progress), 17 applied for an IHS residency (1 pending, 8 accepted, 5 completed), and 5 became IHS Commissioned Corps officers. Five additional students accepted an IHS or tribal position, with 3 pursuing a USPHS commission.

CONCLUSION:

Since the first report on the impact of this elective experience was published, the course continues to meet its primary objective of promoting interest in IHS/tribal education experiences and pharmacy practice careers.

KEYWORDS:

Indian Health Service; Native American; career paths; cultural competence; service learning

PMID:
26056410
PMCID:
PMC4453088
DOI:
10.5688/ajpe789172
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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