Source: Texas/Oklahoma AETC
For several years, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) training efforts implemented by Texas/Oklahoma AETC (TX/OK AETC) have taken root in Oklahoma. However, given that Texas has the fourth largest Native American population in the United States, the need to establish a solid connection with Native American healthcare leadership and providers in Texas was clear. Upon receiving advice and assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health Regional Office in Dallas, representatives of TX/OK AETC were prepared to begin this journey.
On November 2, 2007, the first Native American Health Forum was held in Texas. Participation in this forum provided TX/OK AETC staff an entry point to begin to build collaborations with Native American healthcare providers. Dr. George Haddy, Health Director of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Community Health Center on the Tigua Indian Reservation in El Paso and Dr. Larry Morningstar from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio quickly became partners and a training event targeting Native American clinical providers and healthcare leadership was underway.
As a first step in planning for the event, a customized needs assessment was developed. The involvement of Drs. Haddy and Morningstar in this step-and every step going forward-was essential. Not only did they provide important guidance related to Native American culture and values, but they were instrumental in the design and distribution of the needs assessment. As a result, issues such as Hepatitis C, HIV testing, use of herbal products, and post exposure prophylaxis were topics selected for the training event.
The next step was to plan the format for the conference. Drs. Haddy and Morningstar identified the need to offer two separate sections of the conference; one targeting clinicians and the other targeting non-clinical support staff. The topics and expert speakers, including Dr. Jason Tokumoto and Dr. Khalsa, were the same for each section.
As the conference date approached, assistance with identifying a venue, marketing the event, and recruiting participants was provided by the core collaborators. The event was graciously hosted on the Tigua reservation at a state-of the-art learning facility. Significant recruitment efforts were made to reach providers that serve the Alabama Coushatta and Kickapoo tribes.
The event was held on June 2nd, 2008 and the outcomes of the event were overwhelmingly positive. All of the respondents (100%) found that the overall quality of the training program was excellent. The majority of respondents (88%) believed the learning objectives of the program were effectively met. Ninety-four percent would recommend the program to others.
As a secondary outcome of this event, partnerships with Native American healthcare leaders and providers were strengthened. For example, TX/OK AETC was invited to present at this year's health forum. Hopefully other opportunities to partner with and train clinicians serving Native Americans in Texas will become available.