Annual American Indian health summit coming to Bemidji in June

Bemidji State University is partnering with the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health to bring the center’s second annual American Indian health summit to Bemidji.

CRCAIH-LOGO ColorThe conference, “Making Relatives for Community-Based Research,” will be held June 10-11 on campus and in Bemidji’s Sanford Center.

About the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health
The center was formed in 2012 to help tribal communities and health researchers collaborate on research intended to improve the health of American Indians in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. The center focuses attention on issues surrounding poverty, low levels of education, low socio-economic status, crime and a greater exposure to environmental hazards that play a role in increased health risks of American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

Conference program
The conference will focus on providing attendees with the latest strategies for using interdisciplinary research to impact tribal communities, particularly relating to health care and wellness issues. Topics to be covered include strategies for building data resources for research, incorporating Indian values into research methodologies, health needs assessments of American Indian communities and the influence of cultural health on the abuse of prescription drugs.

Dr. John Gonzalez, associate professor of psychology at Bemidji State, will be co-presenting a breakout session entitled “American Indian Suicide: Why Protective Factors Matter,” along with Dr. James Allen from the University of Minnesota.

Keynote address
The summit’s keynote address will be delivered by Dr. Spero Manson, distinguished professor of public health and psychiatry; director for the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health and associate dean for research at the University of Colorado. Manson’s presentation, “Participatory Research in Action: Marrying Good Science and Local Benefit,” will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Registration is required by June 4, and registration is free. However, professionals seeking continuing education credit or Sanford Contact Hours are required to pay a $25 registration fee. Visit for complete information, including information on continuing education and Sanford Contact Hour credits.

The annual summit is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Pre-conference workshop at Bemidji State
Bemidji State is hosting a pre-conference workshop Tuesday, June 10, entitled “Traditional Foods Role in Health Promotion.” The workshop will be held from 12:30-7 p.m. in BSU’s Beaux Arts Ballroom.

Participants will learn how to prepare and incorporate traditional foods into their diet, learn how traditional diets play an important role in disease prevention, and will explore the relationship of cultural teachings/practices and environmental sustainability in the promotion of food as medicine. The workshop will include a meal and a food demonstration.

There is no cost to attend the pre-conference workshop, but there is a limit of 125 participants and advance registration is required. Register online ( or by calling (218) 755-2851. Check-in will be available beginning at 11:30 a.m.

About the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health
Over the last quarter century, the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health — under the auspices of the Colorado School of Public Health — have significantly improved health care in more than 180 tribal communities. The centers include nine nationally recognized centers and is the nation’s largest, most extensive program for generating the knowledge critical to enhancing the well-being of American Indian, Alaska Natives and non-Native people.

At the centers, faculty conduct research, develop programs, provide training and offer technical assistance to health care programs that benefit tribal communities, while developing trust-based, collaborative relationships. These efforts increase public awareness about significant health disparities and reduce risk of chronic disease among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Dr. James White, associate professor of human performance, sport and health; (218) 755-2766
Dr. John Gonzalez, associate professor of psychology; (218) 755-2881
Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health; (605) 312-6232

Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health
Summit registration
Pre-conference workshop registration