Los Alamos High School student Erica Keevama participated with 24 other NNAYI participants this summer at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Courtesy photo
A San Juan Pueblo and San Ildefonso Pueblo high school student was part of 25 teenagers nationwide to participate in the 18th Association of American Indian Physicians’ National Native American Youth Initiative (NNAYI) program.
Erica Keevama. Courtesy photo
Los Alamos High School student Erica Keevama joined 24 teenagers from across the nation to participate in the 18th Association of American Indian Physicians’ National Native American Youth Initiative (NNAYI) program. Keevama attended the nine-day program this summer in Washington, D.C.
The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) sponsors the program to educate and encourage more Native American students to pursue careers in health professions.
“We expose the students to a variety of health careers,” Program Director Gary Lankford said. “The summer program allows them to visit national health organizations and academic institutions.”
The students were taken on field trips that included tours of the National Institutes of Health, George Washington University School of Medicine, Indian Health Service and the National Library of Medicine.
Students attended a series of lectures and interactive workshops that featured guest speakers who are physicians, researchers, and educators in the field of medicine.
“It’s important for the students to hear from these health care professionals. They’re successful Native Americans who serve as role models and mentors. They inspire our students to continue their education and set high goals,” Lankford said.
NNAYI was created in 1998 to increase the number of American Indian/Alaska Native students entering health professions and biomedical research. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for admission to college and professional schools. Students also receive information regarding financial aid, counseling, and other college-related assistance.
Keevama is the daughter of Frances Keevama and a member of the San Juan Pueblo and San Ildefonso Pueblo.
Over the past decade, more than 578 students have received scholarships to attend the NNAYI program. To be selected for the NNAYI summer program, students must be age 16-18 and express interest in healthcare or biomedical research. For more information, visit www.aaip.org or call 405.946.7072.