What is Asniya?
Asniya, meaning “to heal” or “to cure” in the language of the Dakota Sioux, is an outreach program, established through Harvard Medical School in 1995, whereby medical students and other allied health care students are recruited from participating institutions to serve as Asniya interns. Interns receive course credit and are sent to Indian reservations to introduce Native American youth to fields in health care. In addition, clinical experiences are arranged for the interns at local reservation health care facilities, providing insight to the complex Native American health issues that exist.
What is the goal of Asniya?
By focusing our attention on Native American youth, Asniya strives to:
- Render health care professions less abstract and more tangible.
- Provide basic, practical knowledge and increase medical sophistication.
- Increase safety, preventative care, and overall improvement of health.
- Instill a greater sense of self-worth, confidence and capability.
- Provide personal empowerment towards reaching higher levels in education.
- Promote positive change within Native American communities.
How is the mission of Asniya accomplished?
During month-long visits to participating schools on South Dakota Indian reservations, interns interact with and deliver daily classroom presentations to junior high and high school students on a variety of medically related topics. The Asniya approach involves the use of prepared lecture material, slide presentations, and video footage of medical procedures to captivate students’ attention. Stethoscopes, basic first aid kits, and informational materials are incorporated into animated and interactive presentations to stimulate interest and help teach fundamental concepts.
What is Asniya's new Health Through Knowledge Program?
Asniya has developed a culturally sensitive middle school curriculum that introduces students to basic health science concepts and the option for health science careers. The program has been piloted at Red Cloud and Porcupine Schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and medical students travel to the reservation and spend 4 weeks teaching the curriculum. Students with a particular interest in a health science career are paired with a mentor, who remains in contact with the student through high school, providing guidance and support as he or she focuses on a post-secondary pathway.
Interns participating in the Asniya program have included students from the following educational institutions:
- Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA)
- Harvard Dental School (Boston, MA)
- Tufts School of Medicine (Boston, MA)
- Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD)
- Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Hanover, NH)
- Anna Maria College School of Nursing (Paxton, MA)
- Mount Wachuset Community College Nursing Program (Gardner, MA)
- Yale School of Nursing, Graduate Program (New Haven, CT)
- Ohio State University College of Medicine (Columbus, OH)
- Alpert Medical School at Brown University (Providence, RI)
- Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (Baltimore, MD)
- University of Vermont College of Medicine (Burlington, VT)
- Stony Brook University School of Medicine (Stony Brook, NY)
- Drexel University College of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA)
- Boston College, Undergraduate Program (Chestnut Hill, MA)
- Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, WI)
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (Erie, PA)
- Chicago Medical School (North Chicago, IL)
- Creighton University School of Medicine (Omaha, NE)
- University of Rochester, Undergraduate Program (Rochester, NY)
- Phillips Exeter Academy, College Preparatory High School (Exeter, NH)
Current and former American Indian communities served by Asniya:
- Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, SD
- Flandreau Sioux Tribe, SD
- Oglala Sioux Tribe, SD (Pine Ridge Reservation)
- Rosebud Sioux Tribe, SD
- Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, SD
- The Oyate Center (American Indian Youth Center located in Rapid City, SD)