The Denan Project to Train 20+ American Indian Health Workers to Assist More Than 150 Young Navajo Mothers in Arizona

Published December 13, 2015

WOODBURY, CONNECTICUT—The Denan Project announced that training of more than 20 American Indian medical community health nurses, paraprofessionals, and health technicians began on Monday, December 7, 2015 as part of its support for young mothers and their families at the three Navajo communities of Chinle, Pinon, and Tsaile in Arizona, where 43% of the population lives below the poverty level.

Once trained, these health workers will provide a series of home-based lessons to expectant and young mothers. By the end of the first year, the program will support 150 at-risk families in their homes, a number slated to grow in subsequent years.

The Denan Project, a Connecticut-based nonprofit, has committed financial resources over two years to support the Family Spirit program of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. This home-visiting initiative promotes optimal health and well-being for new parents and their children. After nearly 12 years of operation in Africa, Asia and Latin America, this marks the first program The Denan Project supports involved in within the United States.

“Given our mission to provide health and development assistance to the world’s most under-served people in its remotest and poorest places, we felt it was right to work closer to home and identified the Family Spirit initiative as an excellent partner. Together, we chose Chinle, Arizona as the place to start,” said Dick Young, President and Founder of The Denan Project.

With the support of The Denan Project, staff members from the Public Health Nursing Department at the Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility will receive the necessary training and certification to support young Native American mothers from pregnancy to three years postpartum, providing them the knowledge and skills to help their children achieve optimal development through preschool.

Jarret Shechter, The Denan Project Vice President and leader for this effort, added, “This project was chosen based on identification of a specific health need, which is both the key characteristic we seek in selecting all of our projects and the core of the support The Denan Project provides. It also fits well with our desire to create the opportunity for a better life for impoverished and minority communities.”

“Johns Hopkins is delighted to welcome The Denan Project and the added value it brings to the Chinle community,” said Kristen Speakman, Assistant Program Director for the Family Spirit Program. “The Denan Project’s emphasis on diligence in monitoring for measurable outcomes is in alignment with our practices. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration over the coming years.”

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