College Fund Research

American Indian College Fund Publishes Report on Ways for Tribal Colleges and Education Institutions to Increase Graduates in Health Fields

April 7, 2020

Results Gleaned from Roundtable with Tribal Colleges, Education Organization Leaders.

April 7, 2020 Denver, Colo.— American Indians and Alaska Natives have significantly higher rates of chronic diseases and resulting effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is more important than ever that tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) create greater opportunities in the health sciences fields to better serve Native people. Today the American Indian College Fund published Native Health Workforce Recommendations 2019, a report resulting from its September 2019 roundtable in Bismarck, North Dakota, where the College Fund convened TCU and education organization leaders to envision successful partnerships and TCU programs to graduate larger numbers of Native people in the health sciences fields to serve their communities.

The Native Health Workforce Recommendations 2019 report details the needs of TCUs, existing relationships with education organizations, and opportunities to expand engagement to increase health care graduates in Indian Country.

The following recommendations are detailed in the Native Health Workforce Recommendations 2019 report:

  • Creating a health care careers guide for middle and high school students;
  • Developing programs to share faculty and professional development;
  • Establishing an advocacy initiative that removes barriers to health program accreditation;
  • Creating opportunities through strategic engagement, consultation, and shared program development for partnerships among TCUs, reservation-based high schools, state/private colleges and universities, and health care professionals; Facilitating articulation agreements between tribal colleges and higher education institutions to create pathways into healthcare professions;
  • Encourage relationships among middle and high schools, TCUs, and other higher education institutions to support recruitment and retention of Native students in healthcare fields
  • Investing in infrastructure such as wellness centers and food sovereignty programs to improve health indicators in tribal communities; and
  • Assessing and report upon local, statewide, or regional initiatives practices that successfully support AIAN students in health professions.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “The global pandemic that has captured our resources affirms the timely recommendations of this report. We need health care workers throughout the country but particularly among American Indian and Alaska Native populations where culturally competent and place-based providers are critical to combatting COVID-19. We must get ready now and for the future.”

The report is available for free download on the American Indian College Fund web site at

Download Native Health Workforce Roundtable Report (PDF)

About the American Indian College Fund – Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $221.8 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit

Reporters: The American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. On second reference, please use College Fund.


Dina Horwedel, American Indian College Fund, 303-430-5350