Navajo Council Health, Education & Human Service Committee

Greetings Relatives/Frens,
Here at Navajo Nation Council Health, Education, and Human Service Committee. I came to HEHS Committee after the Labor Commission adjourned.

And as I walked into the Committee meeting, which was meeting in the Navajo Nation Council chamber, here in Window Rock, Ariz., the Navajo Birth Cohort Study project was making a report to the Committee.

I did an interview with Study Director D. Johnnye Lewis, who is the principal investigator and who is also Director of the Unversity of NM-Albuquerque Community Environmental Health Program, and her staff, Mae-Gilene Begay, Master of Social Work, Navajo Nation Division of Health Program Director for Community Health Representatives/Outreach Program; Anna Rondon, NDOH Navajo Cohort Study Supervisor; Co-Investator Dr. David Begay, UNM-Albuquerque Community Environmental Health Program; Co-Investigator Adrian Ettinger, Yale Unversity faculty, and Malcolm Benally, multi-media specialist.

The Birth Cohort Study is examining the relationship between uranium exposure birth outcomes and child development on the Navajo Reservation. The study was part of a Congressionally mandated five-year plan to address uranium contamination on the reservation.

The five-year plan is up for renewal this year in Congress.

Here is the link to the report that the Birth Cohort Study Project presented to the Health, Education and Human Service Committee (copy & paste into your browser):

Committee Chairperson Jonathan Hale and Committee member Walter Phelps also joined the group as I was interviewing them in the north conference room of the Council chamber.

Everyone was asked to leave the north conference a few minutes ago to allow the Committee with top administrators from Sage Hospital, which is located in Ganado, Ariz. Ganado is a Navajo reservation community that is about a 30 minute drive east of Window Rock. According to a Ganado community member, the community is very concerned about the hospital’s financial expenditures, which reportedly involve a trip to Hawaii for top hospital administrators and the hospital board. Some hospital staff arrived after the Committee and top hospital administrators went behind closed doors.

I just spoke with Sage Hospital Board member Raylene Terry (not sure of correct spelling) and she confirmed that Board and top hospital administrators traveled to Hawaii but not for Board meeting. They all attended a tribal leadership conference. She wasn’t sure who sponsored the conference. But it was in June.

Well, I’m headed home where I will begin transcribing interview with Birth Cohort Study Project people. But before going home, I’ll stop by tribal copy center to have settlement between tribal police officers/commanders and tribal DPS director John Billison scanned so I can post a link to it for all of you to read.

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