Conference focusing on Native Americans’ health challenges

Posted By Mike Padgett

Oct. 1, 2008

The Arizona Myeloma Network and other nonprofit groups in the state are planning a special conference this month to focus on health challenges facing Native Americans.

A cosponsor of the free Oct. 11 conference at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock is the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, named for the actor who starred in movies filmed in the Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley.

The conference will feature information and presentations from cancer-care organizations and hospitals that offer services and resources in cancer treatment.

Organizers hope the conference will lead to increased access to medical resources, improved services and better cancer treatment for the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The conference at the museum is open to the public. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. The museum is at Arizona Highway 264 and Postal Loop Road.

Access to specialized care is a critical issue among the Navajo Nation’s rural communities. Cancer patients must travel hundreds of miles to metro Phoenix, Flagstaff and Albuquerque for treatment.

The conference was conceived by Mechelle Morgan-Flowers, a nurse and supervisor who works at the nearby Fort Defiance Indian Hospital.

The conference’s primary sponsors are the Arizona Myeloma Network, which helps victims of a form of bone cancer; Black Bear Diners; and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

Participating organizations include Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, Navajo Nation, Intertribal Council of Arizona, Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care, Southwest American Indian Collaborative Network, Dine’ College, Mayo Clinic, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Scottsdale Healthcare, Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, St. Joseph’s Cancer Center, Arizona Cancer Coalition, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (Desert Mountain States Chapter), AeroCare Medical Transport, AmeriChoice Insurance Agency/United HealthCare Insurance Co., Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University.

For more information or to offer sponsorships or donations, visit or call Barbara Kavanagh at 623-388-6837, or Mechelle Morgan-Flowers at 928-729-8024 or -8476.

Oct 1st, 2008

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