"Every day on HuffPost, we're highlighting one 'Greatest Person' -- an exceptional individual who is confronting the country's economic and political crises with creativity, generosity and passion. Today we feature Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, a member of the Dine' (Navajo) tribe and Vice President of the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, an American Indian nonprofit health organization located in Rapid City, S.D. She is the first Native American woman to graduate from the Yale School of Medicine. For the past 10 years Dr. Nez Henderson has collaborated with tribal communities all over the country in implementing comprehensive tobacco control and prevention programs. Her tireless efforts to change the way Native Americans see and use tobacco, and her work in advancing the health of Native communities across this country, is something we all can learn from and be inspired by. Huffington Post: Part of what makes you so inspiring today is where you come from and the path you've taken to get here. Tell us about growing up on a Navajo reservation.
Dr: Patricia Nez Henderson: I grew up in the small community of Teesto, in the southern part of the Navajo Nation, in home with no electricity or running water. My father was in construction, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. My childhood was wonderful; my relatives lived all around me, and since we had no television, we did so much together to entertain ourselves.
HP: Describe your education before college.
PNH: I went to boarding school starting in the fourth grade through high school. Before high school, I went to school with mostly Navajo kids. In high school we were a much smaller population, but were the only students to board at the school. I was fortunate to have great mentors in high school, to help me through and permit me to do extra and advanced work because the opportunities at my school were fairly limited. They really nurtured a love of science within me."
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Greatest Person Of The Day: Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, Native American Health Advocate
(The Huffington Post 10/29)
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