Giving Ute kids a head start for health - @theU

Giving Ute kids a head start for health – @theU

“It’s hard to get a blood pressure reading on a tiny person,” commented first-year medical student Emma after her day at the Ute Indian Tribe Head Start. After taking two year-long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the University of Utah Physician Assistant program and medical school were able to return to Fort Duchesne to help the Ute Indian Tribe Head Start program achieve one of its important goals, by ensuring that all young children have an annual physical exam.

On October 3 and 17, dozens of University of Utah staff, students, doctors, and undergraduates visited the community.

Dr. Richard Backman, Associate Professor for the Physician Assistant Program, has fun coloring with a Head Start student.

Making the effort especially special, Timina Powaukee and Develiah Alanis, both students at the University of Utah, and who themselves grew up attending the Ute Indian Tribe Head Start, were able to help. Working alongside medical students and PA students, Timina noted that “I have cousins, nieces and nephews that I was treating today. The fact that I was able to help these children was very beneficial to me.

Develliah found herself comforting the children by coloring with them and reading stories while they waited for their exams. Over the two days, dozens of medical students and PA students came out with their supervisors and professors to perform physical exams. Develiah commented: “I learned how they divided health into dental areas, height and weight, by checking vital signs and taking blood samples. It surprised me that all these people came out, and inspiring that they did.

It was truly a “one-stop shop” as Stacey Swilling, the state’s dental director, described the facility in Head Start’s main building. The children were escorted by a PA or medical student from one station to measure their height and weight to another where they underwent a dental examination. At other stations, vital signs were recorded, blood tests for lead and anemia, and a vision test was performed on all 3- and 4-year-olds. By having all of these services in one place at once, Ute Indian Tribe Head Start has been able to start the school year with information that will help young children fulfill the program’s mission of develop learning skills, cognition, physical and motor skills, and social and emotional readiness for success in kindergarten and beyond.

But clearly, young Head Start students were not the only learners to benefit from this collaborative effort. “It was very good. It helps me develop my interaction skills with toddlers,” said Safia, a PA student, “Plus, this area is beautiful. »

“I’m super glad I came.” said a medical student named Zach, “It’s way more fun than class. I have to take an exam today. One of the main organizers of the day, Dr. David Sandweiss, quickly pointed out to Zach “You won’t remember the test, but you will remember it today.”

Maitree Shah, a PA student examines one of her preschool patients.

The Ute Tribe Head Start serves approximately 97 children in the Uintah Basin. The University of Utah Medical School has 450 medical students and physician assistants The University’s program is one of the oldest in the country and its director, Jared Spackman, has traveled to Fort Duchesne and worked with the Indian health services for years. The interactions between all these players in the medical community seemed to energize all players. As Timina Powaukee, a junior at the “U” and recent graduate of the Native American Summer Research Internship (NARI), explained: “I spent time with PAs and it was really fun. I told them about my research I did this summer, and they told me how they got to PA school.

Like Amanda Moloney Johns, a faculty member of the Physician Assistant Program, explained, “I’ve worked at U for 12 years and I never miss a day. This brings him to the heart of why we do medicine. I love seeing students learn about medicine and all the factors that fuel medicine. It’s so much better than a PowerPoint!

Develiah, a sophomore at the “U” and currently studying nursing, agreed that learning happens at many different levels. “I was surprised that there were so many medical students and PA students learning by being here.” And she continued: “The day kept me interested in the medical field.”

And there are the intangibles on days like this. As Timina pointed out after her day with the Head Start kids: “When we did the debrief afterwards, I honestly thought it was amazing. For me, the circle is complete and I am able to help children with my Head Start. She continued, “Little kid hugs are so cute. “Everything is pretty cool.”

After all the work was done, on the last day, the Ute Indian Tribe Head Start showed the many visitors to the University of Utah true Ute hospitality and provided a beautiful lunch of Indian tacos prepared by Chef Sidney Atwnie for all. Head Start Director for the Ute Tribe, Sherrilla McKinley, said it was “remarkable that so many people came out to help us. We are grateful.”

Creating a more traveled path between the University of Utah and the 8 tribal nations of Utah is one of the primary goals envisioned by many colleges and schools at the University of Utah. I think when you succeed, it looks like this.

#Giving #Ute #kids #start #health #theU

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