Photo Essay: Teaching Community and Public Health at a North Dakota Tribal College

This past July, Marielle Young, Class of 2017, visited a Native American Reservation in North Dakota to teach a Community and Public Health Course.




The beautiful Cankdeska Cikana Community College and me in Fort Totten, North Dakota. Cankdeska Cikana Community College is a Native American tribal college located on the Spirit Lake Nation reservation. I was blessed to teach an “Introduction to Community and Public Health” course at the college for 3 weeks this summer as part of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Global Health Program.

My wonderful “Introduction to Community and Public Health” class! There were 19 students ranging from ages 16 to 60 in the class. I taught a variety of public health topics ranging from Maternal and Infant Health to Public Health Interventions and much more.

While teaching at Cankdeska Cikana Community College, I lived in a historical Bed & Breakfast. The Bed & Breakfast was part of Fort Totten, a military post built in 1867 and used until 1890 when it became an Indian boarding school. Fort Totten also served as a tuberculosis preventorium from 1935 to 1940. The Bed & Breakfast was previously the Lieutenant’s Quarters and later the teachers’ housing. It was decorated in period pieces and was gorgeous.

During my time in North Dakota, I also helped run a “Health Careers 4 U” Camp for Spirit Lake Nation pre-teens. We taught them about health careers and healthy behaviors they could practice at home! This is a picture of us with the Spirit Lake Nation EMS ambulance.

During the weekends we traveled to various National Parks in the Dakotas! This is a picture of me in the South Dakota Badlands, which was a 7-hour drive from Fort Totten. The scenery was incredible. We even spotted a few bison, elk and snakes!

For our last weekend we drove to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota. This is a picture of me on a 5-mile hike we did! On our hike we saw wild horses, buffalo and prairie dogs! The Dakota territories is where Theodore Roosevelt fell in love with the Wild West, became a cattle rancher and was inspired to protect and expand the country’s National Parks and Forests.

youngm07_0622Marielle Young is an MD candidate, Class of 2017

Comments are closed.