The College of Medicine Urban Health Program (COM-UHP) has a proven track record of developing leaders who will advance health equity. On all four sites of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, COM-UHP offers a variety of longitudinal programs and services for students who are underrepresented in medicine (URiM) specifically African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos/as, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds that: attract talent, provide access to medical education, support even progression and academic excellence, and promote leadership within the health equity arena. Since its inception in 1969, COM-UHP has assisted more than 2,000 African-American, Native American and Latino/a students in gaining admission to and graduating from the University of Illinois College of Medicine.
What is urban health?
Urban health is an area of health care focused on the unique medical concerns which dominate large metropolitan areas along with social concerns that affect lives and access to healthy living. The Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization acknowledge the relationship between health and the social determinants of health (such as education, income, housing, air quality, health insurance, risk behaviors, and environmental hazards) when defining urban health.
November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, histories and important contributions of Native people. This month allows us to spread awareness about tribes, educate people about the various sacrifices and challenges faced by the Native Americans in the past and today.
In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed a proclamation authorizing “American Indian Week,” and in 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” From 1990 onward, presidential proclamations have been issued annually to celebrate the heritage and culture of Native Americans.
Today, 28 states and many cities, rivers and lakes have names derived from Native American heritage. Native Americans and Alaska Natives are people having origins in any of the original peoples of North, South and Central America, and who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. According to the U.S. Census, there were 5.2 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in the U. S. in 2010; 7.1 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in the U. S. in 2020; and there are projected to be 10.1 million American Indians and Alaskan Natives living in the U. S. by July 2060.
For events, programming and resources to celebrate and commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of American Indians and Alaska Natives, consult your campus, local communities and federal organizations’ websites.