The Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH) at the University of Minnesota Medical School strives to raise the health status of the Native American population by educating Native American students in the field of health care and Indian health.
The Center of American Indian and Minority Health (CAIMH) has been integral in making the University of Minnesota second of all medical schools in the nation for graduating Native American physicians. CAIMH was established by the Minnesota Board of Regents in 1987. This formalized CAIMH as an umbrella organization over the Native American medical and undergraduate student programs; some of these existed as far back as the first years of the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth.
In 1972, the University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth Campus was founded. Its inaugural class included two Native American students. At the time, these two individuals made up 10 percent of the nation’s Native American students entering their first year of medical school. In addition to earning his M.D., Dr. Alan Johns also earned a Masters degree in Education. He is now the school’s the Assistant Dean of Education and Curriculum, teaches medical school courses and continues to practice medicine.
The deep commitment and leadership in our area Native American communities combined with the dedication of forward-thinking medical school faculty resulted in the development of the Native Americans into Medicine program in 1974. The NAM program exists to the current day and Native American students continue to learn and grow through their participation in it. CAIMH and the UM Medical School continue their dedication to training Native American physicians and healthcare providers. Programs and outreach efforts have expanded to students of all levels of education, encouraging them to consider careers in medicine or health care.
In addition to its NAM program, CAIMH was one of the three original Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Native American Center of Excellence (COE) programs funded from 1991 to 2005. CAIMH currently offers opportunities for high school, undergraduate and medical students through its Health Careers Opportunity Programs project. The HCOP project includes a partnership with Bemidji State University to provide outreach and advisement for American Indian undergraduate students in northwestern Minnesota. CAIMH is home to the Indian Health Service Indians into Medicine (INMED), a project that provides funding and services for American Indian students from the Kindergarten to high school levels and partnerships with INMED area Native American communities. This project also partners CAIMH with Bemidji State University in providing summer experiences for high school students, including the BSU INMED program. A partnership with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa allows us to offer additional programming for high school students.
For the past 40 years, CAIMH and the UM Medical School have encouraged and supported Native American students of all educational levels as they explore and pursue their health career goals. CAIMH recognizes importance of creating a learning environment where Native American students can maintain community and cultural ties and how this prepares them to provide high quality health care for Native American communities.
If you are interested in learning more about the Center's inception please view our original legislative document.
Students drum as a part of the Medical
School's White Coat Ceremony