Jan VanRiper, JD, PhD
BRAVE Conference Tackles Health Disparities in Indian Country
The institute for Health and Humanities was one of several co-sponsors of the recently held BRAVE conference (Building Resiliency, Advocacy and Vision through Education) which took place at Kwataqnuk Resort in Polson, Montana on June 26-28, 2017.
Organized and presented by and for Native American women, the conference addressed health disparities inherent in Indian Country with a focus on: cancer, breast cancer in particular; access to health care; and community mental health -Montana Indians suffer from one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Presentations included cultural awareness in diagnosis and treatment, engaging indigenous communities in research, strategies and solution-finding, and healing through arts.
Led by Lori New Breast, who served as M.C. and facilitator, the conference engaged participants in deep conversation about health challenges in Indian Country and non-conventional group problem solving exercises that started with guiding questions intended to personalize the experience. The event was attended by about 100 women (plus one man!), including IHH administrative assistant, Gail Gutsche.