“I Wanted To Do Anything That Could Help:” Offering Support to Caregivers in Indigenous Communities
August 1, 2022
The Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. While beautiful, its rural setting brings a range of health disparities compounded by inadequate access to specialty clinical care.
Responding to these disparities, the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization launched its collaboration with the Navajo Area Indian Health Service (IHS) in 2010.
“The needs within our Indigenous communities are striking,” said Ellen Bell, MBA, MPH, senior project manager for the outreach program.
“Our mission is to work alongside the IHS providers to help expand the range of health conditions they feel comfortable treating and thus increase the number of patients living on the reservation receiving care not previously available.”
McLean Hospital was invited to join this partnership at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic due to the expanded need for behavioral health services and training.
“The Navajo Nation has the highest per capita loss of life and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the U.S. In this tight-knit community, in many instances, patients were staff, neighbors, and friends of those who cared for them,” explained Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, McLean’s chief academic officer.
“You can, therefore, imagine the level of trauma sustained by hospital providers and staff.”
Journalist or member of the media?
We are available 24/7 for media requests.