34 Medicine in Oregon www.theOMA.org GIVING BACK Giving Back to the Tribe By Ryan James, Oregon Medical Association “If I see something that is working here, I want to make sure that our tribe has the same benefits.” ALLISON EMPEY, MD, a second year pediatric resident at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland and a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, is giving back to the children of her community in a big way. Starting last May, Dr. Empey established a program to distribute books to children at the tribal clinic on the Grand Ronde reservation. Reach Out and Read “At Doernbecher, we do a program called Reach Out and Read. It’s a national program where providers give books to children during their well child visit, and basically prescribe reading to promote early literacy. So from six months to five years they end up with a library of about 10 books that are developmentally appropriate,” she explains. “National Reach Out and Read actually has a Native American specific program, but Grand Ronde had not been introduced to the Reach Out and Read Program. I’d noticed that our tribal clinic didn’t have that program, so I approached some of the clinic staff. If I see something that is working here, I want to make sure that our tribe has the same benefits.” Dr. Empey got support from the Tribal Council, went through trainings with clinic staff and helped secure funding for the program’s first year. Tribal clinic staff “have done an amazing job of promoting the program themselves and keeping it running.” This early literacy program was not Dr. Empey’s first project at the reservation. During her fourth year of medical school she helped students create a video for the tribe’s youth afterschool program. Youth Inspired Video Targets Obesity Problem “It was a community engagement project where I met with the same group of students after school a couple times a week for a couple weeks. We discussed health and they identified some unhealthy things in the community and then created and wrote their own video. It focused on the issue of obesity and the ways that the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde are healthy in fighting obesity.” The students, mostly fifth and sixth graders, wrote the scenes, and Dr. Empey helped one student who was particularly interested in filming shoot the video and edit the final product. The video brought awareness to the issue of obesity and advertised healthy activities available on the reservation for tribal members, like afterschool programs in the community gym, pickup basketball for all ages, and programs to get in shape for the tribe’s annual canoe journey. “It was really fun. They had all the video equipment available for the kids to use, and it was a good opportunity for them to learn how to use it,” says Empey. “I got to know them and that was nice.” The video is available on the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde’s website and was featured in the tribe’s newspaper, Smoke Signals. “The driving force,” she says, “I think it’s just wanting to give back to my community and to bring back what I’ve learned, skills I’ve developed, back to the tribe.” Allison Empey, MD Pediatric Resident, OHSU Healthcare Learn more about the Reach Out and Read program at www.reachoutandread.org.
OMA Winter 2015 Magazine
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