Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness in New Mexico: opening a local conversation by hosting a national traveling exhibit
Keywords:American Indians, Community Health Workers, Community Outreach, Culture, Holistic Health, National Library of Medicine (US), Native American
Background: The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center hosted the National Library of Medicine’s Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness traveling exhibit. The authors’ goal was to promote local interest in the Native Voices exhibit, with an emphasis on making the exhibit content and materials available to American Indian communities throughout rural New Mexico.
Case Presentation: We convened a daylong summit to highlight the exhibit and encourage discussion among 30 American Indian community health educators. The summit prompted the compilation and distribution of descriptions of 23 community projects that promote health and wellness. We also took a scaled-down version of the exhibit to 4 rural college campuses around the state that serve significant Native American student populations. Approximately 140 students and faculty interacted with the exhibit materials, and all 4 sites incorporated the exhibit into curriculum activities.Conclusions: A hosted national exhibit developed into a multifaceted, funded project that engaged with Native American communities. We demonstrated successful field deployment of a downsized, portable version of the full traveling exhibit to make meaningful connections with members of our outreach population.