The Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health began its 10th anniversary in 2022. This milestone made the theme of the 2022 Diversity Summit—Honoring Indigenous Health: Past, Present and Future—extra poignant as representatives of NACHP shared presentations about a decade of progress and partnerships with Wisconsin’s Indigenous communities.

Established in 2012 by Erik Brodt, MD, an Ojibwe family medicine physician, with strong support from many people—including Bret Benally Thompson, MD (White Earth Nation), an associate clinical professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Public Health—the center’s goal is to increase the representation of Native Americans in the health care workforce and advance the health of Native Americans. Today, Benally Thompson is the principal investigator of NACHP’s Indians into Medicine Grant, a competitive grant through the Indian Health Service held by only a handful of other medical schools in the United States.

Dean Robert N. Golden, MD, spoke at the Diversity Summit on September 29, 2022, about NACHP’s progress.

“When the Native American Center for Health Professions was founded, there were just five Native American medical students and faculty members in the school,” he said. “Now, following a decade of commitment and hard work, NACHP has grown tremendously. It currently serves almost 60 Native American health profession students across our campus, hosts an advisory council of more than 25 dedicated Native American health professionals, and has graduated nearly 80 students.”

Other points of pride include the 100 percent graduation rate of all Native American and Alaska Native health professions students at the SMPH and, since NACHP’s founding, a 100 percent success rate of Native medical students who participate in the residency match. Multiple graduates are practicing in tribal communities and mentoring the next generation of Native health professionals.

Danielle Yancey, MS, NACHP’s first full-time director who joined the center in 2017, says she is proud of the community of healers that NACHP has fostered.

“Over the last 10 years, NACHP has worked really hard to fulfill our mission,” Yancey notes. “To celebrate this anniversary and help host the Diversity Summit in the same year was a great culmination of the work by our team and our partners, as well as an opportunity to highlight Indigenous health.”