< Back to Search

HPOG Promising Practice: Turtle Mountain Community College

Published: November 18, 2019
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

HEART Project participants assist someone lifting weightsBelcourt, ND

Health & Training Students Help the Community While Gaining Experience

Tribal communities residing on Indian Reservations face unique challenges that affect the overall health and wellness of native populations. Diabetes poses a particularly significant threat, impacting not only the physical health of individual citizens but the financial health of the Tribal Nation as a whole. This is due to rising healthcare costs and the burden placed on healthcare facilities already under financial strain.

For the past decade, the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Nation has taken a proactive approach to improving the health and welfare of its citizens through strategic initiatives that teach people to make healthier choices. The strategy’s implementation culminated in the construction of the Byron Dorgan Youth Wellness Center, a tribal health and fitness facility, staffed by a trained workforce supplied by Turtle Mountain Community College’s HPOG Health & Fitness Training Program.

This approach provides real-world work experience for HPOG participants to apply their newly acquired skills, education and training in a setting that benefits the community as a whole. HPOG training instructors use the latest industry information to equip students with practical knowledge in social cognitive behavior, exercise psychology and lifestyle coaching, which they in turn pass along to members of the community.

Students also support the Turtle Mountain Community College’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. They provide athletic training to help prevent injury, along with speed and agility training to improve player performance.

The results of this strategic implementation are two-fold. Students gain hands on experience while serving a distressed community. Upon graduation, program participants are better positioned to pursue their career pathway of choice, and if desired, obtain full-time employment at the Wellness Center. Meanwhile, the health outcomes of the tribe are improving, and the financial burden of health epidemics is lessened.

By applying their newly acquired skills in a real-world setting, Health & Fitness Training students gain valuable practical experience while providing a much-needed service to their community.

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

Last Reviewed: November 18, 2019