Public Health

How is COVID-19 Impacting Indian Country?

April 23, 2020  • Center for Native American Youth & Aspen Global Leadership Network

The Aspen Global Innovators Group and the Center for Native American Youth held a live conversation on how COVID-19 exposes health inequities for tribal nations – and the on-the-ground work being done to lessen its impact. The 30-minute virtual session featured leaders in medicine, youth and mental health, and clean water working with indigenous communities.

Dr. Erik Brodt, Ojibwe, Oregon Health and Science University:
Dr. Erik Brodt is a family physician. In addition to caring for patients, he works to improve Native American health outcomes and develop Native American Health professional training programs.

Emma Robbins, Navajo Nation, Navajo Water Project:
Emma Robbins is a Diné artist and social justice fighter, working with her community on the Navajo Nation to secure access to safe drinking water. After losing a grandmother to cancer caused by uranium contamination in the water and growing up in one of the areas with the highest concentration of water poverty, Emma went on to lead the Navajo Water Project, collaborating with communities to help the 30% of those on the reservation without running water. Emma weaves her art into her work to raise awareness about the need for clean water on Native Nations. Emma’s favorite part of her work is working with fellow Indigenous women to combat the water crisis.

Shavaughna Underwood, Quinalt Indian Nation:
Shavaughna Underwood comes from the Quinault People. She is a Human Services Professional who works with the Behavioral Health Team at her tribe as an Administrative Assistant. Shavaughna has a degree in Human Services from Grays Harbor College and is currently a full time student at Evergreen State College majoring in Indigenous Studies focusing on Healing from Trauma. Shavaughna is also the Vice President of the Quinault Indian Nation Culture Committee while she is also the secretary of the Quinault Canoe Society. Shavaughna is trained in Question Persuade Refer (QPR) for suicide prevention and believes in implementing traditional coping mechanisms for Intergenerational Trauma.

The conversation will be moderated by Nikki Pitre, Acting Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth.