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Merging Medical Careers With Traditional Healing at Wake Forest

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians thinks more Cherokee medical experts will help address Indian health issues in culturally sensitive ways, reported Wake Forest University's News Center.

“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have identified the need to ‘grow’ their own medical experts for the tribe,” said Ulrike Wiethaus, Wake Forest professor of religion and American ethnic studies, who has worked on numerous projects with American Indian community partners, stated the University's news center.

In response to this need, Wake Forest is beginning a summer program that encourages and guides Cherokee youth in exploring health careers, called the Medical Careers and Technology Academy (MEDCAT) program. The program was originally developed in 2007 to introduce Cherokee students to medical and technological careers, emphasizing culture and history. “The program tries to bring together medical careers and a culture with a thousands-of-years old tradition of healing,” said Wiethaus.

A team of Wake Forest colleagues recently received a $170,000 grant from the Burroughs-Wellcome Foundation to fund MEDCAT on the Wake Forest campus for the next three years, said Wiethaus.