By: Evelina Maho, MAdm., Public Health Program Manager, National Council on Urban Indian Heatlh
I joined the National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH) in October of 2020. As a non-profit organization housed in Washington, DC., NCUIH advocates through policy with a team of lawyers and attorneys, providing technical support and research to our member Urban Indian Organizations.
My role as the Public Health Program Manager includes building capacity, enhancing, and developing coordinated Public Health systems with 41 Urban Indian Health Organizations in the United States. With a team of passionate colleagues, National Partners and our grassroots American Indian leaders and community members, we strive to create a safe, quality-driven, and equitable health care system.
Life has its way of bringing you to places that you least expect. As the work continued in each new day, my personal life began to unveil unexpected loss of family and extended relatives due to aging, dementias, chronic health conditions, and in some cases exacerbated by the pandemic. It is still painful and at times I feel helpless, but I also have hope and believe we can incorporate healthier ways into our lives and support our loved ones, and take time to care for ourselves as well. These life events and NCUIH introduced me to the International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA²). I work with IA² as an Advisory Committee Member. on behalf of our American Indians/Alaskan Natives, I’m able to speak and contribute to the content and materials developed by IA². This is one of the many projects on which I assist through NCUIH. Dementias and how we better support our aging populations in Indian Country is one of our public health concerns and is thus so important.
The National Council of Urban Indian Health has launched the social media campaign titled “Wisdom Keepers” to raise awareness of dementias; this was created in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Check out one of the many videos in a series below. Or you can click here to Check out the Wisdom Keepers Media Campaign.