Transcript: Internship Program Created to Attract American Indian Students to Medical Field

Piano music plays.


A view pans down over a building on a university campus.

ON SCREEN TEXT:    Oklahoma State University

                                    Tulsa, Oklahoma

In a lecture hall, a man in a suit speaks to a group of students wearing matching polo shirts.

MAN: Well, welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome. We’re so excited to have you guys here. This is a great day. .2 to .4% of all the kids across the United States in medical school are American Indian. In our class it’s 15% every year. We’ve done a lot of work with that. It’s never too early.

An aerial view shows the exterior of the building.

ON SCREEN TEXT:   Oklahoma State University welcomed

                                    American Indian high school

                                    students from area tribes

                                    in a first-of-its-kind immersion camp.

 An instructor holds a tablet displaying vital signs as students practice CPR on a dummy.


INSTRUCTOR: How many compressions do we do in CPR?

STUDENT: Thirty.

INSTRUCTOR: Thirty. How many ventilations?


INSTRUCTOR: Two. Awesome.

A student does chest compressions on the dummy.

STUDENT: One, two, three…

A student interviews.


ON SCREEN TEXT:    Skidi Star Leading Fox

                                    Pawnee Nation – 18 years old

SKIDI STAR LEADING FOX: I think the purpose of this camp from my perspective is that there’s other Native Americans that have showed us that we can do it. They’re like catching us at an early spot in our lives.

A student watches the vitals monitor and practices chest compressions.


INSTRUCTOR: Look at that. That’s some awesome CPR. Best one yet.

A man interviews.


ON SCREEN TEXT:   Tom Anderson

                                    Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) – Executive Director


TOM ANDERSON: There’s a critical shortage. It’s a crisis situation of American Indians into the health professions. This has been a downward trend for more than 40 years.

An instructor speaks in a classroom.


INSTRUCTOR: When you go to the doctor, what is a doctor trained to do?

A man interviews.


ON SCREEN TEXT:    Ronald Shaw, M.D.

                                    Osage Nation Health Services – Chief Executive Officer

RONALD SHAW, M.D.: What it’s been attributed to is not just genetic influence, but insufficient healthcare workforce--everything from physicians to dentists to pharmacists. At least 30% of the physician positions in the Indian Health Service are vacant. Some of it is attributed to historical trauma.

A student interviews.


ON SCREEN TEXT:    Madyson Houston

                                    Pawnee Nation – 17 years old

MADYSON HOUSTON: I was shocked at first. It’s not that common and it really needs to change, and this internship has really shed light on that. The people they’ve brought in--the physicians they’ve brought in--have really helped to inspire me even more to keep going.

Screens display 3D renderings of internal organs as students practice using surgical tools.


INSTRUCTOR: Go ahead and click both of them.

A student interviews.

STUDENT: We’re simulating surgery in this room, and like the feel of what it feels like with them actually doing it on a real person.

In a classroom, students practice doing sutures on pads of synthetic skin.


INSTRUCTOR: These suturing needles are very, very sharp. So it looks just like this, and you’re gonna use that to grab your needle.

A student interviews.


STUDENT: We’re just learning how to do sutures right now.

RONALD SHAW, M.D.: It’s generally felt that Native physicians will provide the longest-term filling of those healthcare vacancies because they have a cultural connection to the land and the culture.

Students sitting in a circle listen as two men chant and beat a drum. Tom Anderson interviews.


TOM ANDERSON: We have to embrace our ancestry. We have to be proud of the fact that we are American Indian or Native American. That’s what we want to teach. Spirituality has always been dominant in every tribal culture and continues to be. And we want to demonstrate that through these prayers.

At an outdoor ceremony, drummers play in the center of a circle. Dancers, many of them in traditional outfits, circle around the drummers.

ON SCREEN TEXT:          Stroud, Oklahoma

TOM ANDERSON: Often we think of western medicine as linear, whereas we think of traditional medicine as circular.

ANNOUNCER: To our 56thannual  Sac and Fox Powwow. Heeyaw! Heeyaw!

TOM ANDERSON: Largely in the Indian community, it’s about us, it’s about we.

Students from the class walk amid the ceremony.


STUDENT: I really do want to be in this and help out my fellow Native people.

MADYSON HOUSTON: Listening to physicians--Native Americans who just started out like us, even in worse conditions--and just seeing how they prevailed just makes you feel like you can do it. And I really think I needed to hear that.

A logo appears.


ON SCREEN TEXT:          United Healthcare