Northern Michigan University’s Center for Native American Studies, along with the nursing and clinical sciences departments, will offer a new program for Native American high school students called “The College Prep Medicine Wheel Academy.” Forty Native American students will be introduced to health care professions via two multi-day visits to NMU. While on campus, they will engage in activities that teach about nursing and clinical sciences careers and degree programs, as well as tour Marquette General Hospital, located across the street from the Northern campus. The participants will also meet Native American professionals working in the health care fields. Native Americans are severely underrepresented in the health care field. Of the 2.7 million licensed registered nurses in the United States, only 13,040 are American Indian or Alaska Native nurses. The new academy will reach out to youth from the five federally recognized tribes of the Upper Peninsula, as well as from tribes in lower Michigan, northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. “Our goal is to see that Native American youth visit our campus and learn about NMU, as well as become exposed to our strong nursing and clinical sciences programs,” said Adriana Greci Green, one of the NMU faculty spearheading the program. Yearly the Center for Native American Studies, in collaboration with the Hannahville Indian School, hosts science programs for middle school students during the summer. “We lose touch with them after middle school,” said April Lindala, the center’s director. “It’s time for us to seek out those students now that they are in high and further promote college life with these types of interactive programs. We need for these students to know that they have a place in our classrooms and labs.” Paul Lang, dean of the NMU College of Professional Studies believes that this program “has the potential to significantly impact the perceptions, realities and understandings that Native American high school students have regarding health care in the United States.” For more information on the application process, contact the NMU Center for Native American Studies at 906-227-1397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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