At the Center of American Indian and Minority Health, we’re working to make a positive impact on American Indian and Alaska Native health. In partnership with Native American communities, university experts, and nonprofit leaders, we accomplish this mission through education, research, and outreach. The center is based at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus.
Our Symbol: Miinens + Manidoominens + Pathways
The center's symbol shows cycles, representing how our students rise to their full potential through a committed lifelong journey of learning and service.
In Ojibwe, Miinens means hawthorn (the plant shown), comes from the word for seed, and is also medicine. Manidoominens is the word for beadwork and for bead. The concepts are closely linked—seeds were the original beads.
This imagery draws on the fullness of potential that lies within each seed; the spiral path of beadwork that begins with just one bead; and the plant's stages in each season.
As our students return to their communities to serve and inspire, the cycle begins again for younger generations.
We provide resources and activities for Native American students spanning K–12, college/pre-med, and medical school. We give you access to opportunities ranging from the Health Science Academy to the Native Americans into Medicine program, and more.
Our research focuses on the center’s activities over the past four decades. We’re also connecting with tribal communities throughout Ojibwe country to find out which health issues they would like us to investigate.
Our staff members are dedicated to program development and outreach in tribal communities within Minnesota, Northern Wisconsin, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. We aim to inform educators and tribal leaders about our programs while reaching out to students who are interested in health sciences.
In 1973, the University of Minnesota Medical School began offering educational opportunities designed to support health careers for Native Americans. The first of these opportunities was the Native Americans into Medicine (NAM) program.
Still offered every summer on the Duluth campus, NAM was the result of collaborative work between regional Native American and Medical School leaders. This program has proven to be a popular and enriching summer experience for hundreds of American Indian students.
The Center’s Launch
The Center of American Indian and Minority Health was established at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1987. The Minnesota Legislature approved a plan developed by co-founders Ruth A. Myers, a member of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a leader in American Indian education, and Robert Pozos, a medical school faculty member.
Building on the success of NAM, the center developed a variety of programs and opportunities for Native American students at all education levels, from kindergarten through medical school.
The University of Minnesota Medical School is now second in the nation for successfully graduating Native American medical doctors. Working together with local and national Native American communities, University departments, nonprofits and government, our center has played a key role in this success.
Read our original legislative document to learn more about the center’s inception.
Four Decades of Success
- 1973 - U of M launches the Native Americans into Medicine program.
- 1987 - The Center of American Indian and Minority Health is established.
- 1987–present - CAIMH serves thousands of Native American students and communities.
- Today - University of Minnesota Medical School is second in the U.S. for graduating Native American MDs.
Mary Owen, MD