A Cherokee professor elected to the National Academy of Medicine

A Cherokee professor elected to the National Academy of Medicine

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A scholar from the Cherokee Nation of Arizona has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine based in part on her research into HIV/AIDS and drug abuse prevention, with a focus on indigenous youth.

Julie Baldwin, Ph.D., a regents professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Northern Arizona University, joins more than 2,000 other elected members who work outside of government to “provide objective advice” on issues related to science, technology and health. , according to the academy.

“It’s an incredible honor,” said the CN citizen and professor from Flagstaff, Arizona. “It was humbling to be nominated.”

The National Academy of Medicine is one of three advisory institutions that make up the nonprofit National Academies. This year’s 100 new recruits, including Baldwin, “have demonstrated exceptional career achievement and a commitment to service,” the academy noted.

“This extraordinary class of new members is made up of exceptional scholars and leaders who have been at the forefront of responding to serious public health challenges, addressing social inequalities, and achieving ground-breaking discoveries” , National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau said in a statement. . “Their expertise will be essential in informing the future of health and medicine for the benefit of all.”

The academy hosted Baldwin in part based on his “internationally recognized pioneering research” on community-based HIV/AIDS and substance abuse prevention interventions for Indigenous youth. Baldwin, who has spent more than three decades in health research, said she believes she is the first Native American female scholar to serve at the National Academy of Medicine, as well as the first at Northern Arizona University.

“I hope I can help pave the way for other women, Indigenous peoples and other people of color to become members of these academies,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin, 60, earned a doctorate in behavioral science and health education from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1991. She worked for Northern Arizona University from 1994 to 2004, then returned in 2015. Between his stints at NAU, Baldwin worked at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

In addition to her teaching role, she is the founding director of the Center for Health Equity Research at Northern Arizona University, which received a five-year, $21.4 million grant in 2017 from the National Institutes of Health to promote health equity and study health disparities among diverse populations in the American Southwest. In September, the grant was renewed for another $21 million.

“NAU, where I am, is considered a Hispanic-serving institution, but we also focus on Native American health and communities,” Baldwin said, adding that grant funding is used to help address disparities. health in this region.

At the research center, Baldwin is also immersed in a collaborative project called “Ending the HIV Epidemic in Rural Oklahoma,” or e-Hero, with colleagues from Purdue University, Oklahoma State University and Cherokee Nation Health Services.

“It’s a study to try to rule out HIV and other (sexually transmitted infections),” she said. “This particular project is focused on Aboriginal men and other men, and it’s really about encouraging testing. It’s only a one-year program, but our goal is to expand it.

She added that she has an interest in helping other projects that affect Native Americans, especially youth.

“A lot of my work has been in the area of ​​addiction prevention and treatment,” Baldwin said. “I would like to work more on the behavioral health of the Cherokee Nation and other groups there.”

Baldwin’s mother, Cherokee Nation citizen Jeanne Harding, lives in Tahlequah.

“My dad was actually a college professor as well,” Baldwin said. “He had a doctorate. in physics, then my mother graduated from primary education. So my family has always been very focused on education.

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