Baer Grant Program: Pine Ridge is one of the most neglected areas of the United States for mental health care and services. With the support of the Sydney R. Baer foundation, Asniya endeavors to contribute towards improving this environment, by placing several interns each semester in reservation schools. Our longitudinal goals within this program include:
- Designing and implementing a “Mind-Brain” curriculum, focusing on mental health and brain anatomy and science, empowering young people to manage emotions using healthy modalities as opposed to impulse.
- Developing a point-of-care mental health risk assessment to be administered at schools, clinics, and homes, to assess mental status and identify possible adverse childhood events, allowing us to further characterize the state of mental health while identifying community needs.
- Consolidating and improving lines of communication between the mental health services on the reservation.
Future American Indian Health Professionals: Led by President Tracy Zacher, since 2016 the FAIHP program has allowed student leaders interested in medical science careers to participate in job shadowing event at Rapid City Regional Hospitals. Participating students have come from multiple reservation schools, with some of the students have attended multiple annual events with Asniya. Opportunities including "Doctor for a Day," "Nursing for a Day”, and "Emergency Medicine for a Day," where Native American students can participate in several hands-on activities, including checking medical simulation dummies for pupil dilation, heart rate, and other vital signs, while learning about various career paths in medical, nursing, emergency medicine and EMT careers. We are very grateful to Rapid City regional hospital, for allowing students to be given guided tours of medical imaging, cancer care, pharmacy, laboratory, and physical therapy.
Health Through Knowledge: While not our priority program for medical students at this time, in the past Asniya has worked with Red Cloud and Porcupine Schools in implementing a culturally sensitive middle school curriculum that introduces students to basic health science concepts, along with the option for health science careers. Students with a particular interest in a health science career are paired with a mentor, who remains in contact with the student through high school, providing guidance and support as he or she focuses on a post-secondary pathway. In the future, we hope to revisit the Health Through Knowledge program, allowing us to spread this type of format and mentorship opportunity to other schools throughout the Pine Ridge Reservation - and eventually other reservations in South Dakota and the U.S.