Jason Hale, Class of 2012
I am Nishinabe, a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. I grew up in Northeast Kansas on the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation near Mayetta.
I’ve worked in the field of public health research for more than five years and am currently a research instructor and assistant director of community engagement and education at the Center for American Indian Community Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center. CAICH is one of few research centers in the United States dedicated to addressing health and education disparities among American Indians. I have a great interest in research and service with American Indians, and this was a perfect fit.
I have strong training in community-based participatory research and have helped develop culturally tailored public health interventions, specifically in smoking cessation, smokeless tobacco cessation, physical activity, nutrition, weight loss, and health literacy. Another part of my job is to organize forums and projects that connect researchers, educators, physicians, investigators, and community members.
KU’s Indigenous Studies Program helped me understand how traumas and injustices inflicted upon Indigenous peoples have been major factors in health, education, and social problems facing American Indians today. That understanding is the first step to create programs and initiatives to heal Indigenous communities.
I also coordinate the American Indian Health and Research Education Alliance’s (AIHREA) summer internship program. This program introduces students to careers in health sciences and health research that address health and educational disparities among American Indians.
I continue to hold a presence in the American Indian communities we serve, working directly with tribal nations and greatly increasing our accessibility to the community.
My goals continue to include seeking opportunities to create health equity for marginalized peoples through research, education, and community engagement. I hope to continue to contribute to the development of sustainable health interventions that help American Indian people prevent chronic diseases and conditions. I also want to continue to open doors and create opportunities for American Indian students to enter into careers in health sciences and research. My future goals include to grow as a grant writer to obtain funding for my own research ideas.