Harrah’s funds health lecture series

Darold Londo (right), general manager at Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel, presents a check to Lisa Lefler (center), a professor of medical anthropology at Western Carolina University, and Linda Seestedt-Stanford, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, for the Culturally Based Native Health Program.

Darold Londo (right), general manager at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel, presents a check to Lisa Lefler (center), a professor of medical anthropology at Western Carolina University, and Linda Seestedt-Stanford, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, for the Culturally Based Native Health Program.

A recent gift from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel to Western Carolina University will help sponsor a public lecture series on Native American health issues offered through the university’s Culturally Based Native Health Program.

The gift of $3,000 will enable the program to bring two nationally known speakers to campus in 2011 and 2012.

The Cherokee Shaman’s Knot is an ancient Kituwah design signifying the four corners of creation and the connection of all spirituality and all physical life in the world.

The Cherokee Shaman’s Knot is an ancient Kituwah design signifying the four corners of creation and the connection of all spirituality and all physical life in the world.

Established in 2006, the Culturally Based Native Health Program, or CBNHP, provides health professionals with an opportunity to acquire knowledge about Cherokee culture and other Native American cultures that might help them in treating patients.

A collaborative effort involving WCU, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Wake Forest University, the program has two components: a graduate and undergraduate Native health certificate offered through WCU; and a Native youth health careers summer camp at Wake Forest.

Nearly 20 high school students and five health sciences teachers from Cherokee High School and from Cherokee, Graham, Jackson and Swain counties participated in the summer program last year.

The program’s lecture series is designed to help inform the public of issues that affect the health and well-being of Native peoples and to be of interest to those who work in rural communities in Southern Appalachia with other underserved populations.

Since the series began in 2010, hundreds of participants have attended the lectures. Past speakers include Dr. Ann Bullock, chief clinical consultant for family medicine for the Indian Health Service with the EBCI, and Dr. Eduardo Duran, a psychologist working in Indian country and author of several books including “Healing the Soul Wound: Counseling with American Indians and Other Native Peoples.”

For more information about the CBNHP or the lecture series, contact Lisa Lefler, a professor of medical anthropology and director of WCU’s component of the program, at 828-227-2164 or llefler@wcu.edu.