Training Intercultural Health Care Teams: A Model for Recruitment and Service
This paper was originally published in the Proceedings of the First Annual Interdisciplinary Teams in Primary Care Conference, which took place May 3-5, 1979 in Seattle, Washington. It is reproduced here with the permission of the authors.
Despite efforts to increase the numbers of Indians entering or enrolled in the various health professions and occupations during the past few years, their numbers remain far below those representative of this minority and needed to provide adequate care to a significantly-underserved population. Historically, access to the health professions and occupations for Indians has been limited due to economic costs, geographic isolation, and early educational deficiencies. Equally important, however, has been a widespread lack of appropriate role models and cultural support from the Indian community itself for such career choices on the part of their youth. As a result, many Indian students have failed to consider the many socially and economically desirable aspects of available health careers.
Nevada is the seventh largest state in the nation in geographical size, covering over 100,000 square miles. Within this area, there are over 10,000 Indians registered on the tribal roles of Nevada's 23 colonies and reservations. In addition, several thousand others are unregistered, since they reside in urban areas or work as transients. As elsewhere in the nation, Nevada's Indians suffer poor health and health care as measured by nearly every index. An increase in trained health personnel motivated for service to this population undoubtedly would result in significant improvements in these indices.