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Winter 2023 Native American and Indigenous Health & Healing

As members of the Global Health Community, we seek to learn about health care with respect to the history and development of the Indian Health Service, tribal-led health initiatives, indigenous spiritual healing, and collaborations between healers and biomedical professionals. What ways can we ensure health and healing services are accessible and affordable to Native American & Indigenous populations ?

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The UC San Diego Global Health Program and Students for Global Health held our nineteenth event in Quarterly Conversations in Global Health on Wednesday, February 8th, 2023, at the Great Hall of I-House! This quarter’s panel spoke on Native American and Indigenous Health & Healing.

Quarterly Conversations provides a forum for the Global Health community to come together to discuss relevant issues in the field from an interdisciplinary perspective and increase community interaction at UC San Diego.

Thank you to the community tables who participated in the event’s networking session: Students for Global Health, Global Health Reps, Partners in Health, and the San Diego American Indian Health Center.

We would like to give our special appreciation to our event co-sponsors: UC San Diego Global Health Institute, UC San Diego Division of Social Sciences, UC San Diego Global Health Program, UC San Diego Center for Global Mental Health, UC San Diego Students for Global Health, and the UC San Diego International House.

Panel Recap

We were delighted to have Dr. Thomas Csordas, Director of UC San Diego’s Global Health Program, moderating the event as our Master of Ceremonies.

Dr. Tommi Gaines

Tommi Gaines is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and an Associate Professor with UCSD’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health. She has received her doctorate in public health with a specialization in biostatistics from UCLA and holds a masters in statistics from SDSU. As a trained biostatistician her research utilizes statistical and spatial methodologies to address the physical, social, and structural context of Health among overlooked and medically underserved populations. She is currently involved in several projects which examine prevention and treatment resources for illicit substance use and infectious diseases. This includes four studies in collaboration with Southern California tribes focused on HIV prevention strategies and local level context of opioid misuse and overdose risk. She is also the co-director of UC San Diego School of Medicine core course “Epidemiology biostatistics and medical informatics.

Margie Anderson

Margie Anderson is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Recovery Coach with the San Diego American Indian Health Center and is a large advocate of mentoring utilizing culture and traditional practices. She supports education and applications that lead to positive restorative ceremonies and traditional culture for all Native American and Indigenous persons. She has earned her CADC-II and ICADC accredited by the California State Board and the Department of Health Care Services. 

As an experienced provider and substance abuse counselor of the San Diego American Indian health Center, Margie provides alcohol and drug use disorder assessments, diagnoses, and treatment of individuals, couples, families, and groups. She has a true passion for helping the elder, adult, and youth populations through blending together traditional, cultural, and medicinal teachings into her practice. 

Margie is known to her community as a wellbriety facilitator, generation red road facilitator, talking circle co-founder for Spiritual Solutions talking circle, and certified traditional tobacco educator. Margie’s strong educational background and experience in project management and supervision provide her with the knowledge base as a lead person and coordinator for Community Wellness grants.

Ash Cornejo

Ash Cornejo is a PhD student in the psychological and medical anthropology program here at UC San Diego where she studies ethnobotany [the ways that people engage with plants]. Ash is especially interested in ethnobotanical intersections with integrative medicine including ritual prayer herbalism and other forms of healing outside of colonial Western medicine. 

She has worked as a practicing herbalist in indigenous language revitalization and immigration advocacy for over a decade. Her other previous work experience includes being an indigenous language interpreter coordinator in medical and immigration settings and has worked in court settings alongside expert witnesses in demonstrating the interconnectedness among language, land access, and indigenous health and sovereignty.

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