2019 American Indian Health Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony

June 14, 2019

The Center for Native American Health (CNAH) hosted the 2019 American Indian Health Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony on May 8, 2019, at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown. This ceremony is CNAH’s opportunity to honor the American Indian students and their families for the sacrifice and dedication they took upon themselves to complete a health professions degree at the UNM Health Sciences Center (HSC). This year 50 American Indian students obtained health profession degrees. In addition to the 50 students, four American Indian physicians will have completed their residency programs.

2019 Graduates

The night’s events included welcoming remarks from Dr. Tassy Parker, Center for Native American Health Director and a keynote speaker, Honorable Regis Pecos. The night continued with an awards presentation for service and dedication to American Indian Higher Education, a student speech by Jaron Kee, Doctor of Medicine graduate, recitation of the Declaration of Geneva in the Navajo language by graduating medical students, Jaron Kee and Nicole Lee and finally the presentation and honoring of graduates.

As part of the presentation of graduates, CNAH continued their tradition of gifting and robing each graduate with a wool blanket. This year CNAH provided wool blankets made by Eighth Generation, with a custom patch that symbolizes CNAH.  Mr. Steve LaRance, a Professional Artist provided a song and his granddaughter, Sha Dé Phae Young performed a hoop dance in honor of the graduates.  The ceremony this year opened and closed with a prayer, provided by the Native American Community Academy Zuni Language 6th period Class (A:shiwi Bennan Wokkwin; Doba:le’kk’ya Delit’donne).

Dr. Parker reminded us in her welcoming remarks that as each of the graduates heads back into their respective communities and into the workforce, there is a dire need for health professionals. Dr. Parker shared with the audience health ranking data that we would like to share with everyone. With the majority of the student’s home base located in McKinley County, New Mexico currently ranks 35th in the nation’s Health Rankings with McKinley county ranking last (32 of 32) in the state of New Mexico’s counties (See links below for data).

On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Center for Native American Health, we like to congratulate the graduates and their families on a job well done! As Dr. Kee said, “You each are not only answering our ancestors’ prayers, but you’re answering a call throughout Native Country – you’re the positive change we direly need.” Thank you to those who attended and allowing us to be part of this tremendous occasion.

View photos of the 2019 American Indian Health Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony.

America’s Health Rankings: https://www.americashealthrankings.org/learn/reports/2018-annual-report/findings-state-rankings 

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps: http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/explore-health-rankings