Title of Work

Building a Culture of Health and Health Equity through Native American Nurses

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

February 2020


In an effort to inspire Native Americans to consider a career path that can help build healthier communities, the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action teamed with the National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association (NANAINA) to produce a 90-second video showing a day in the life of a Native American nurse. The nurse featured is Lisa Martin, PhD, RN, PHN, immediate past-president of NANAINA and associate professor with St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. Martin is also a diversity consultant for the Campaign for Action and is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Chippewa Indians in Wisconsin.The video, made in collaboration with GoodHealthTV—the nation’s only health and wellness educational network created specifically for American Indians and Alaska Natives—aims to inspire Native Americans to enter the nursing field.The cause that the video promotes is critically important for two reasons.First, the health of Native Americans continues to warrant attention, attention lacking in part because Native Americans are woefully underrepresented in nursing. A greater number of Native American nurses would mean a greater number of nurses focused on and closely attuned to individuals’ and communities’ needs. Second, and closely related: By incorporating the Native American “lifeways” and the social determinants of health into care, Native American nurses would be more likely to offer culturally appropriate care.Both of those reasons are even more important during a global crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. This virus is hitting Native Americans particularly hard and nurses, including Native Americans, are on the front lines caring for every patient.NANAINA is a member of the Campaign’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Steering Committee, which advises the Campaign. With the video, NANAINA and the Campaign hope to encourage viewers to consider a career in nursing—whether it is a high school student thinking about next steps or an adult looking for a change. The goal is to inspire Native Americans to consider that career path to help build healthier communities and achieve health equity through a more diverse nursing workforce.The video started airing February 18 on GoodHealthTV, which reaches nearly 14 million people in 35 states each year. Its programming airs in more than 352 facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. These locations include Indian Health Service medical sites, urban health clinics, community buildings and centers, and tribal-owned and operated facilities.AARP Multicultural Leadership, an internal division at AARP, provided the Campaign for Action with the opportunity to produce the video with NANAINA and GoodHealth TV. Winifred Quinn, PhD, FAANP(H) and Scott Tanaka, MSW, led this project with assistance from Mary Boyle, MS; Jennifer Peed, MSW; and Aidan McCallion, MS.