November is Native American Heritage Month and National Diabetes Month. To celebrate heritage and promote health the Gerald L Ignace Indian Health Center (GLIIHC), along with the Milwaukee First Nations Wellness Coalition (MKE-FNHC), will be hosting the first annual Native Community Wellness Event. The Event will be held at the Indian Community School in Franklin, WI from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 16. It is free and open to the public with activities, education, and health screenings for people of all ages. The event will include presentations on wellness topics, such as diabetes, herbs as medicine, workplace wellness, brain health, volunteering, healthy eating and traditional foods. In addition to educational presentations, there will be activities such as yoga, Native American dance and games for children. Furthermore, GLIIHC will offer Affordable Care Act assistance, eye exams and bone density, blood sugar, and blood pressure screenings. Clinical breast exam screenings will be available along with incentivized breast cancer conversations. More than fifteen community based organizations will have booths at the event.
American Indians suffer from remarkably high rates of diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other chronic diseases, more so than other segment of the population. AI youth are 9 times more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than youth of any other ethnic group. Studies show that increasing healthy food intake and increasing physical activity levels are effective ways to prevent and combat chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, as well as lowering one’s risk for cancer and improving overall health. This annual wellness event is designed to provide the tools necessary to live well in a culturally relevant manner.
Since 1999 the GLIIHC has been fulfilling its mission to improve the health, peace and welfare of Milwaukee’s urban Indian community. As Milwaukee’s only American Indian health center, the clinic serves the area’s diverse tribal members as well as people of all nations, through medical, social, behavioral health, educational, and outreach services. The GLIIHC’s comprehensive, holistic approach to wellness includes advocacy work with community partners to improve the environment where our community members live, work, learn and play. Key to GLIIHC’s community advocacy work has been the MKE-FNHC—comprised of organizations and individuals, coalition members are invested in improving the health of Milwaukee’s American Indian community through health promotion and disease prevention strategies to make the places we live, work, learn, and play more supportive of health. The MKE FNHC is facilitated by GLIIHC and its members include organizations such as Spotted Eagle, Indian Summer Festival, American Cancer Society, Wisconsin Pink Shawl Initiative, American Indian Council on Alcoholism, as well as individual community members.