In a new story from The Daily Yonder, researchers from Oklahoma State University and the University of Hawaii have teamed up to found a new research center, focusing on indigenous populations and health disparities.

With the new Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity, the partnership between the two universities and other tribal organizations will address health equity issues among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander populations.

From the story: “For too long Western medical ideas and ideals have been imposed on traditional Indigenous communities, Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, executive director of the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy at Oklahoma State University, told The Daily Yonder in an interview. 

“The fact is, Native communities have long histories of promoting and fostering health and wellness,” said Jernigan, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and professor of Rural Health at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences who was a key leader in the Center’s development and fundraising. “And these need to be centered: these traditions, these practices need to be restored. And so what’s so unique is that we were able to create a Center where the Indigenous models of health will be at the forefront.”

Wit the focus on embracing tradition and bringing it to the forefront of public health in indigenous communities, the Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity is ideally placed to help tackle health equity in Oklahoma, Hawaii, and beyond.

To read the rest of the story on the Yonder, click here.