Dissertation Traditional Navajo Healing

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Lozada and Wei have worked at GIMC since 2012, and are starting to establish long-term care relationships with patients.

"The longer we've been here, the more patients seem to open up," says Lozada.

"I use almost every single thing I learned in residency on a daily basis," says Wei.

She and Lozada were residents in the UCSF San Francisco General Hospital Primary Care (SFPC) program, which trains physicians to become leaders in caring for underserved populations.

"In her current work, she continues to provide high quality and evidence-based care to vulnerable populations, and creatively works to address social determinants of health." During residency, Wei worked at Lyon-Martin Health Services, a nonprofit clinic, and learned how to care for transgender patients and prescribe hormone therapy.

In Gallup, the HIV doctor asked Wei if she would start a transgender clinic on the reservation."He allowed us to be innovative, yet held us accountable to our values," says Wei."Jennie was an outstanding resident, ensuring that her patients received the best possible care despite their medical and social complexity," says Jain."That's why it's so important to work as a team with social workers, case managers, nurse practitioners and others to keep patients as safe and healthy as possible." Public health nurses and community health representatives are vital members of that team, making home visits to take vital signs and conduct patient education.Because of transportation challenges that many patients face, they are the only health workers that some patients ever see.Asking directly about illness is seen as wishing disease upon a patient, but folding in such questions during a physical exam can be more effective.A positive way to end appointments is using a Navajo phrase meaning "You will become well," indicating good wishes for their health.The seed for working with the IHS was planted when Wei spent a summer rotation as a medical student on another part of the Navajo reservation in Kayenta, Arizona."The Navajo people were extremely warm and appreciative of our care," says Wei.Jennie Weis, MD, MPH (left) and Mia Lozada, MD By Elizabeth Chur For Mia Lozada, MD, and Jennie Wei, MD, MPH, a third of their patients live in homes without plumbing or electricity, most roads are unpaved and hitchhiking is a major form of transportation.But Lozada and Wei do not live in a developing country — they are physicians for the Indian Health Service (IHS), providing free health care to patients of the Navajo Nation at Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC) in New Mexico.


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