Ohiyesa Fund at Geisel

The Ohiyesa Fund at Geisel was established in 2018, with the initial startup funds being transferred from the Ohiyesa Foundation to the office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. The Ohiyesa Foundation has been supporting the work of future healthcare providers with Indigenous communities for over twenty years; it is our hope that DICE will carry this work forward with the next generation of students wanting to engage with and learn from Indigenous communities.

Who was Ohiyesa?

Ohiyesa ("Winner" in Dakota) was Charles Eastman (b. 1858 - d. 1939).  He lived the traditional life of a Plains Indian until the age of fifteen, when his father insisted he attend missionary school. He then headed east and transferred to Kimball Union Academy. He went on to graduate from Dartmouth College in 1887. Three years later, he graduated from Boston University School of Medicine, becoming only the second Native American to do so. He returned to the Dakota people as a physician on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he cared for the survivors of Wounded Knee. He spent the remainder of his life as an author, lecturer, and activist working to improve the relationship between Indigenous communities and the encroaching White society.

Ohiyesa Fund at Geisel Mission

Given Dartmouth's rich and enduring legacy with Indigenous communities and with Ohiyesa himself, this fund is an exciting opportunity for our students to engage with Indigenous communities. This mission supports our students with the following outcomes in mind:

  • To explore Indigenous health policy, intergenerational trauma, AI/AN health disparities, AI/AN chronic diseases, and the history and culture of our Indigenous community partners.
  • To gain newfound awareness into the dynamics of the social determinants of health faced by Indigenous communities.
  • To listen, observe, and begin to understand the health care and social issues facing Indigenous communities through direct personal interactions.
  • To fully engage with community leaders to assess the social determinants of health.
  • To leave something of tangible value to the communities.
  • To bring this newfound knowledge and awareness back to the Dartmouth community.

Accessing Resources from the Ohiyesa Fund at Geisel

Interested students must complete an online application, and provide a resume/CV and complete description of their proposed project.

Depending on when the project is expected to begin, an online application needs to be submitted in a timely manner (2 weeks prior to the beginning of the project), so that proper engagement with our community partner can be made.

Each application is reviewed by a subcommittee for the thoughtfulness of the proposed project and how engaged the community partner is in hosting the student.

It is recommended that applicants work closely with the DICE office to find a community partner that has already built a relationship with our medical community. We are open to fostering new relationships, but please keep in mind that our intent is to serve Indigenous communities and to have a relationship with each community partner. This is best accomplished when we "come back" again and again so they know what to expect from our students and we come to understand how to best engage with them.

Student Expectations

Our work with our partners should be done in a way that promotes a healthy, longlasting relationship. In other words, we should be welcomed back with open arms because of the "good" we worked so hard to create.

Pre-Trip: Students are expected to work in consort with the DICE office and other departments on campus to access resources before heading into the communities. Students are required to complete an online assessment survey. Students are encouraged to explore the cultural, social, and community health needs of the host community.

Trip: Students will generally spend four to six weeks working closely with a community mentor for daily guidance, support, and access to community resources. Students will check in weekly with the DICE office to communicate their progress and seek guidance on their proposal and any alterations that might need to be made.

Post-Trip: Students are required to complete the online survey assessment and submit a report to the DICE office. If students are willing to present their work to the broader Dartmouth community, DICE can assist with scheduling a time and place for this presentation.

To apply for funds from the Ohiyesa Fund at Geisel, please click here.

To Our Community Partners

We would like to genuinely say thank you for your willingness to work with our medical students. This is an exciting opportunity for us to learn from you. The important work you all do will leave a positive, lasting impact on their young careers as they move into future leadership roles.

Our students have already completed many requirements to participate in clinical and community experiences at your tribal healthcare facilities:

  • Geisel provides liability insurance for students when doing away clinical rotations.
  • Each student is compliant with specified health criteria at the Geisel School of Medicine, and they can bring a copy of their immunizations with them, if required.
  • Each student has read and will abide by the Student Policy Handbook, which covers standards of professionalism and confidentiality, and all students received OSHA training and were HIPAA Certified at first year orientation.
  • Each medical student provided a thorough background check with Certify before matriculation to medical school.
  • If required, students can wear their appropriate medical school ID and white coat when they work in your tribal facilities.
  • Expenses associated with student participation while in your community will be the sole responsibility of the Geisel School of Medicine and/or the student.

If there are additional requirements, please let us know. If at any time our students do not perform their responsibilities to the highest professional standard, please notify Shawn O'Leary either via email at shawn.oleary@dartmouth.edu in the DICE office immediately. We take this exciting opportunity to work with you seriously, and we hope to continue this relationship in the years ahead.

Thank you for all of your "good" work in helping our medical student leaders become culturally versatile and caring physicians!