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HPOG Promising Practice: Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board–Education, Training, & Support Services

Published: November 8, 2019
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

Rapid City, SD

Training event incorporates tribal traditions to educate, motivate and honor student achievement.

Onward and Upward is a biannual, two and a half day event hosted by the HPOG Pathways to Healthcare Professions (PHP) in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The event provides essential training and motivation to HPOG participants with a foundation based upon the Native American Medicine Wheel philosophy. This holistic philosophy serves as a learning tool rooted in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements. It aids in the decision-making process by demonstrating balance, illuminating wisdom, and highlighting values.

Key components of the Onward and Upward curriculum include team-building activities, as well as training sessions designed to enhance each student’s professionalism. It also develops essential skills including customer service, communication, math, finance, ethics, self-care and cultural competency.

The event features sessions led by both a student and experienced healthcare professional. The student speaker reflects upon their personal journey, highlighting the value of hard work and perseverance with the intent of inspiring other students to continue striving towards their goals. Similarly, the healthcare professional shares their educational and work experiences, as well as encouragement and practical career advice.

Onward and Upward concludes with a traditional honoring ceremony, to recognize and celebrate students who completed an educational or training program. The ceremony is open to the public, and students are encouraged to invite friends and family to witness this important milestone. Program partners, stakeholders and potential partners are also invited creating recruiting opportunities for students seeking employment.

The event’s impact on students is clear. Motivated by the experience, many students report feeling better prepared to enter the workforce, and with a renewed sense of confidence and determination. Most set new career goals and some even secure employment as a direct result of the event itself.

The traditional honoring ceremony recognizes each student individually, recognizing their triumph over adversity and affording them the opportunity to celebrate their success.

This Promising Practice was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Last Reviewed: November 8, 2019