National Kidney Foundation Blood Pressure Screening at the American Indian Pow Wow
On Saturday May 31st and June 1st, second and third year students from Quinnipiac University’s Physician Assistant Program attended an American Indian Pow Wow hosted by Connecticut’s Native American Inter-tribal Urban Council at East Rock Park in New Haven, CT. During this two-day event, students were volunteering with the National Kidney Foundation to provide free blood pressure screening and education. While this opportunity was meant to be a learning experience for the attendees, it actually turned out to be quite the learning experience for the QU students! QU students had the opportunity to observe Native American religious rituals and learn the history of the local tribes that have lived in Connecticut and the tri-state area since before the pilgrims arrived. Students also had the pleasure of talking with some of the attendees, learning more about their culture and how they maintain their traditions in today’s way of life.
Personally, I found this experience to be really enjoyable. I was able to learn more about Native American and American Indian customs and traditions, and I appreciated that they shared these very personal experiences with me. Additionally, it also proved to me what I had heard numerous times during my didactic year; that Native Americans and American Indians are often hesitant to seek out and may even avoid western medical providers out of fear or suspicion.
I found that I had to mingle with the community and establish rapport before I could recruit anyone to have their blood pressure checked. As a PA student, I am so used to patients coming to me directly for advice and care, rather than having to go them! This experience has taught me that moving forward, I cannot expect anyone, particularly this patient population, to immediately trust me or have confidence in me. I now know that as a future PA I should expect to have to go the extra mile to gain a patient’s trust and make them feel comfortable with me as a provider!
– Jennifer Platt, PA Student, Quinnipiac University
Some visuals from the part of the ceremony we were able to photograph.