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American Indian nursing conference scheduled

NDSU’s Department of Nursing and Cankdeska Cikana Community College are scheduled to hold the third annual conference focused on American Indian nursing May 20-21 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Titled “Pathways to Nursing: Sharing Our Journeys,” the purpose of the conference is to develop strategies for recruiting and retaining American Indian students in the nursing profession in North Dakota. The event is geared for health care professionals and administrators and nursing program faculty and administrators.

“This annual conference provides health care professionals and student nurses the opportunity to learn about the essence of American Indian nursing,” said Loretta Heuer, NDSU professor of nursing. “We are honored to have recognized leaders share their unique journeys in nursing along with the contributions they are making to the field of nursing and health care. Additionally, we are pleased Chancellor David Gipp will present on the history of Tribal Colleges and their importance in educating American Indian students.”

The keynote speaker will be Mary Wakefield, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Wakefield, originally from Devils Lake, North Dakota, previously was associate dean for rural health at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She has served as chief of staff for two U.S. senators and was director of the Center for Health Policy, Research and Ethics at George Mason University. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of the Institute of Medicine.

The event features several nationally-known American Indian health care professionals, including Lillian Tom-Orme, research assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and an adjunct assistant professor and diversity coordinator for the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. Her research interests include health disparity issues, transcultural health, and cancer and diabetes in Native Americans. She holds numerous professional memberships and serves on boards and panels for the Minority Women’s Health Panel of Experts, National Institute of Minority Health Disparities and the National Cancer Institute.

Sandy Littlejohn is executive director of hospital operations at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She has worked in a leadership capacity spanning both the ambulatory setting and the hospital. For the last eight years, Littlejohn has provided administrative leadership for the hospitalist program, central staffing office and hospital operations teams.

David Gipp was president of United Tribes Technical College for more than 36 years before his appointment to chancellor in January 2014. The college is the lead institution in President Barack Obama’s Champions of Change community college initiative. United Tribes serves 1,450 adults and their 380 children each year on a 240-acre campus in Bismarck.

The conference agenda also includes presentations and panels on the Next Steps mentoring program, men in nursing, nursing education and public health.

There is no charge to attend the conference, but participants are encouraged to register by May 15. To register, visit

For more information, contact Heuer at or 701-231-8205.

The conference is funded by the University Partnership Research Grant for Health Professional Opportunities, #90PH0019, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 08, 2021 9:38:21 AM
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