Education is a key factor in improving American Indians’ health outcomes and increasing student motivation to pursue careers in the health sciences. Yet the data reveal that the science education received by most American Indian children is not yielding academic achievement or sparking an interest in health science career options. In order to help change that, Asniya is poised to launch Health Through Knowledge, which will be piloted at Red Cloud Indian School.
Asniya will create a formalized, culturally sensitive middle school curriculum that introduces students to basic health science concepts and the option for health science careers. Medical students will travel to Red Cloud School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and spend 4 weeks teaching the curriculum. Children with a particular interest in a career in health science will be paired with a mentor, who will remain in contact with the student through high school, providing guidance and support as he or she focuses on a post-secondary pathway. In the early years of the program, the mentor will be one of Asniya’s physician Board members. As the program expands, Asniya anticipates that former program interns will remain involved and mentor students.
Asniya's efforts fall directly in line with Red Cloud's proven record of success and innovation, currently sending graduates to Black Hills State University, University of South Dakota, Stanford, Dartmouth, and other institutions here in South Dakota and around the country for post-secondary education.