Sanford Health, the country's largest rural, nonprofit hospital system with locations in 126 communities in seven states, is trying to bridge the cultural divide between Indigenous and mainstream health care.
The hospital is hiring two traditional Indigenous healers to train the medical staff at its 40 clinics in North and South Dakota and Minnesota.
The healers will teach staff about the cultural issues and values of the nonprofit's Native patient population, particularly Lakota/Dakota and Ojibwe, Read Sulik, senior vice president for Sanford's Behavioral Health Services, told the Associated Press.
“We will likely hire two positions, one well versed in Lakota Dakota traditions, the other in Ojibwe," Sulik said.
The healers will also consult medical staff on when traditional healing techniques might benefit patients in conjunction with modern medicine, Sulik added. They will fill three-year positions as part of the $12 million Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services award.
Sanford will additionally hire a cultural and diversity specialist to help the health system better understand and serve patients from various cultural backgrounds.