IWRI Faculty Member Jordan Lewis Returns to Alaska

jordan-lewisI joined the IWRI family in July 2013 and the past three years have been an incredible experience, both professionally and personally. As an Aleut (Alaska Native), I found that everyone at IWRI was very supportive of my commitment to continue working with Alaska Native Elders and bringing their experience and wisdom to IWRI and the UW School of Social Work. What drew me to IWRI was the strong sense of family and community and the unwavering commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous communities, nationally and internationally. Members of the IWRI leadership are leading scholars in their fields and have a commitment to mentoring and training junior faculty and graduate students. Their support has been critical to my development as a junior scholar. The past three years at IWRI have given me a strong foundation and clearer path for my research career, and for that I am forever grateful. Not only have I grown professionally as a researcher, but I have also developed long-term friendships with IWRI faculty and staff, and I am excited to continue collaborating with IWRI from Alaska and bringing the Alaska Native voice to the research world.
Relocating to the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) is an incredible opportunity and situates me closer to the Elders, communities, and tribal health organizations I partner with in Alaska. I will be joining the faculty at the UAA College of Health, Washington-Wyoming-Alaska-Montana-Idaho (WWAMI) College of Medical Education as an Associate Professor. I am tasked with teaching modules on diversity and its role in medical education. The UAA WWAMI medical school is committed to training future doctors to work in Alaska, including with Alaska Natives in urban and rural settings. I will provide the diversity component of that training and help students to learn how to work effectively and sensitively with patients from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. I will also train them to recognize their own biases and how this affects the quality of medical care they provide. In addition to my faculty role, I will be developing an Elders in Residence Program for departments across the entire UAA campus. I will also be developing a culture camp for the College of Medical Education that involves medical students spending a few days at a traditional fish camp to learn from Elders and immerse the students in Native cultures to enrich their medical training.
I am thrilled to return to Alaska and be closer to home and family, but the experiences, trainings, and friendships I have established at IWRI will move with me and continue to influence the work I will do at UAA and across Alaska. Being a part of the IWRI and UW SSW family provided me with a strong foundation and work ethic that will enable me to continue making a difference in Alaska Native communities, tribal health organizations serving Elders, and with medical students in the classroom. I am moving forward in my career and with this move I bring the wisdom, knowledge, experience, and compassion of my IWRI colleagues to the mission and vision of healthy Native communities and individuals.

Posted in 3rd Quarter 2016, Featured Stories, Past Stories

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