Agnes Attakai, MPA, director of health disparities outreach and prevention education for the Center for Rural Health at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, has received the Rosemary McKenzie Legacy Award from the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) for her work to improve the health of Native Americans in rural Arizona.
The award is given to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to improve health for multiracial and multicultural, LGBT, veterans, homeless, and other underserved populations.
Attakai is a member of the Navajo Nation and a champion of health equity in Arizona and nationally. She has worked diligently for 17 years to reduce health disparities among Arizona’s American Indians, most notably by working to develop the Native American health-care and public health workforce.
Attakai is the coordinator of the Arizona Indians Into Medicine program at the UA Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the UA Native American Research and Training Center. Her area of interest is health education, health communication, health promotion and disease prevention, and community capacity building in rural and urban Native American communities. With a focus on multi-media curriculum development and digital storytelling training, Attakai also develops educational materials and curricula on health prevention for community health workers (Promotoras de Salud) and tribal organizations.
Attakai is a board member of the Educational Enrichment Foundation, an independent non-profit organization founded by Tucson’s community and business leaders to support the students and teachers in Tucson Unified School District schools. In addition, she is a member of: the American Indian Science and Engineering Society; the American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus of the American Public Health Association; the Arizona Area Health Education Center Advisory Committee; the National Congress of American Indians, the Native Research Network; the Office of Minority Health, the National Partnership for Action Regional Health Equity Council Region IX; the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science; and the University Arizona Health Sciences Diversity Working Group.
Attakai has a bachelor’s degree in political science and American Indian studies and a master’s degree in public administration from the UA. She received additional training through the National Cancer Institute Native Researcher Cancer Control Training Program at the Oregon Health & Science University; Community Health Advocate Native Telehealth Outreach and Technical Assistance Program at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center; and the Woodrow Wilson Summer Institutes Fellowship in Public Policy and International Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Attakai and fellow 2018 Rural Health Award recipients, will be honored at the NRHA’s 41st Annual Rural Health Conference, May 8-11, in New Orleans.