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Local student participates in national program

Jeni Hendricks
Jeni Hendricks
NNAYI participants in front of the National Library of Medicine. Photo by Rose Knight Photography
NNAYI participants in front of the National Library of Medicine. Photo by Rose Knight Photography

A Pawhuskan was part of 25 teenagers nationwide to participate in the 15th Association of American Indian Physicians’ National Native American Youth Initiative (NNAYI) program.

Jeni Hendricks, a recent graduate of Pawhuska High School, attended the nine-day program held in Washington, D.C. this summer. 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,” explains Gary Lankford, Program Director. “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, Office of Minority Health, George Washington University School of Medicine, Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University.

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,” says Lankford.

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.

Jeni is the daughter of Mark Hendricks and is a member of the Cherokee tribe.

Over the past decade, more than 500 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. Applications will be taken in spring of 2014 for the 2014 National Native American Youth Initiative program.

For more information, visit www.aaip.org or call 405-946-7072.

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