SAS Student Launches Popular Conference Supporting Native American Needs

SAS Student Launches Popular Conference Supporting Native American Needs

Chris Poole, a School of Advanced Studies student, was in Wisconsin, March 8-10, 2016, working on a prevention conference he hosted using IHS Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative funding and in partnership with tribal, federal, and state partners. The event had a focus on "tribal action planning," a form of strategic planning outlined in the Tribal Law and Order Act.

The conference provided information and resources to help tribes develop culturally-competent prevention strategies focusing on community strengths and capacities to change the culture of alcohol and drug abuse.

Chris initially thought the event would be small but his ideas have turned out to be unique in terms of both structure and content. It quickly grew in popularity; both the conference and hotel were booked solid. 

Behavioral health and healthcare providers from as far away as Alaska were in attendance at what Chris has referred to as "our three-day conference in remote Wisconsin." SAMHSA, along with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Lac Du Flambeau Family Resources Department partnered with Chris on the conference and is watching with hopes to make it a model for future prevention conferences throughout Indian Country. Even the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Kitty Rhoades, attended and addressed the more than 200 attendees, representing 26 tribes.  

According to Chris, "It has been an amazing experience. I am excited and in the process of putting together an evaluation plan that will effectively rate the training received at the conference and will examine the implementation efforts of the participants over the next year."

To read more about the conference, read the Indian Health Service blog post.

Chris Poole is a doctoral student in the School of Advanced Studies and soon to be an alumnus of the Doctorate in Health Administration program. He is currently submitting his dissertation for publication. Arfe Ozcan is his dissertation chair.