Text size:  A  A  A

Alumna's DNP project earns national recognition

Jane Peterson DNP '13 (center, with award) is flanked by colleagues at the Allina Best Care Awards.
Jane Peterson DNP '13 (center, with award) is flanked by colleagues at the Allina Best Care Awards.
Photo supplied.

The Witaya Care program at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee, is among the 19 semi-finalists for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s Honoring Nations 2015 awards.

The program grew out of a research project conducted by Jane Peterson, DNP '13 while earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at St. Catherine University.

The prestigious Honoring Nations awards identify, celebrate and share excellence in American Indian tribal governance. It is administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

This year’s applicants included 70 tribal programs representing 110 tribes and five tribal consortia. Selection criteria includes:

• demonstrated impact in their communities,

•  evidence of great effectiveness,

•  significance to sovereignty, and

• transferability and sustainability.

The Honoring Nations Board of Governors will select six semi-finalists for site visits. In October, the Board will name three as High Honors programs, as well as recognize up to three others as models of innovation and excellence in tribal governance.  

About Witaya Care

Peterson wanted her DNP research project to address healthcare disparities among Native American communities. Collaborating with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC), Peterson conducted a healthcare needs assessment and identified initiatives that could increase trust in healthcare providers among SMSC members. After presenting her findings and recommendations to leaders at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, the Center worked with her to establish Witaya Care at the Catholic hospital.

A family nurse practitioner, Peterson is now Witaya Care coordinator and manager of the Shakopee Dakota Clinic at St. Francis.

In addition, Witaya Care was recognized in 2014 with an Allina Best Care (ABC) Award and with a Community Benefit Award from the Minnesota Hospital Association.

Honoring Nations Semifinalist Programs for 2015

• Academic Readiness Effort, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, California

• Comanche Nation Funeral Home, Comanche Nation, Oklahoma

• First to Implement HEARTH Act-Residential Leasing, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Michigan

• Flathead Finance Program, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana

• GeoSpatial Information, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma

• Healthy and Whole, Suquamish Tribe, Washington

• Ho-Chunk Village, Winnebago Tribe, Nebraska

• Kenai Peninsula CASA, Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Alaska

• Khapo Kidz Initiative, Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico

• Menominee Model of Long-Term Care, Menominee Indian Tribe, Wisconsin

• Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

• Native American Drug and Gang Initiative, Bad River, Ho-Chunk, Lac Court Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Menominee, Oneida, Red Cliff, St. Croix, and Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Communities, Wisconsin

• New Home Construction Program, Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma

• Nez Perce Tribe Fisheries Department, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho

• Ohero:kon "Under the Husk" Rites of Passage, Mohawk Nation/Akwesasne, New York

• School Based Health Centers, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Montana

• Tiny Turtles Preschool Program, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, North Dakota

• Witaya Care, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Minnesota

• Yurok Tribe Sustainable Forest Project, Yurok Tribe, California

March 30, 2015 by Julie Michener, with material provided

See also: Alumnae/i, Healthcare, Students