Journey to Wellness in Indian Country

Dr. Melissa Walls

When Mike Connor agreed to conduct some interviews with doctors, families and people who have diabetes in the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, he knew the information he was helping to gather for the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth was going to be important.

So many people on the reservation near Nett Lake have diabetes that it's one of the things ambulance drivers are required to ask about when they arrive to help someone.

But he didn't expect the "side effects" of the research: helping people with diabetes feel less isolated and alone.

Photo courtesy Laura Lhokta

Laura Lhokta was raised on the White Earth Nation in northwestern Minnesota, and she's looking forward to going back when she completes her schooling.

Laura is a medical student at UMD who plans to go home to her tribal community after she graduates.

She talks of the family and friends she has cheering her on back home, but admits it's not that way for every kid on the reservation.

©Stacy Rasmus Photo used with the permission of Billy Charles and Lawrence Edmunds

The University of Minnesota is looking for nationally-recognized researchers and leaders in their field to head four teams focused on solving health issues important to Minnesota and the nation.

It plans to create four Medical Discovery teams, recruiting prominent researchers in four areas of medical discovery.

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