San Carlos Apache Program

The San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation (SCAHC) Human Resources Department consistently organizes a summer youth program yearly since 2019, with an exception for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative is tailored to provide enriching experiences for young individuals aged 16 to 22, who are affiliated with the San Carlos Apache Tribe. The program offers a unique opportunity for participants to engage with and assist professionals working within the hospital environment. The placement of students is based on their specific interests, directing them towards clinical areas, the security department, information technology, or administrative departments.

Executive Summary

Within the clinical areas, students over the age of 18 are granted the chance to undergo HIPAA training and shadow clinicians. The program is designed to foster learning through observation, hands-on involvement in workshops aimed at career and college preparation, as well as active engagement within their assigned departments. Participants also benefit from a CPR certification course and hands-on workshops with the surgical department. In recognition of their contributions, students receive a stipend of $16 per hour for their participation. One of the noteworthy features of this program is that there are no specific selection criteria. Any enrolled tribal member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe aged between 16 to 22 is accepted upon application.

The 2023 edition of the program witnessed a notable expansion in its offerings. The didactic schedule introduced additional enriching opportunities, notably conversations with healthcare and hospital-based professionals from Indigenous backgrounds. Twice a week, these didactic sessions provide insights into diverse medical topics and avenues for career exploration. The scope of CPR certification was broadened to ensure that all students could attain certification. Moreover, hands-on workshops were extended to encompass activities such as suture practice, Stop the Bleed certification, and assistance with college planning. The program's commencement was marked by a kick-off event, graced by various presenters and Indigenous healthcare professionals sharing insights from their respective fields. As a fitting conclusion, students wrapped up their summer journey with brief presentations highlighting their favorite experiences from the program.

Program Sponsorship

The program is funded through a private donation and administered through the Front-Line Indigenous Partnership Program based at the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Global Health and Population.

Program Rationale

An abysmal statistic reveals that a mere 0.3% of physicians across the nation identify as American Indian/Native Alaskan. To address this disparity, the program has been designed specifically for San Carlos Apache students aged 16 to 22. Its purpose is to fully immerse them in the realm of healthcare, with the goal of contributing to the provision of culturally sensitive healthcare services and fostering a deeper understanding within the San Carlos Apache community.