HEAL Video Diaries

Voice from the Frontlines

HEAL believes that everyone deserves high quality health care. COVID has laid bare deep health inequities in this country, especially for black, indigenous and communities of color.

Since 2015, HEAL, a two year immersion program for health workers across 9 countries, has partnered with Navajo Nation, the largest reservation in the US, to support the leadership and transformation of local health leaders.  In the last five years 150 fellows are currently in or finished the program, 1/2 of whom are Navajo or from the Global South.

To amplify our longterm efforts in the time of crisis and to respond to President Nez’s call for health worker reinforcements, UCSF & HEAL sent Solidarity teams of over 40 nurses and doctors on between April and July of 2020. These teams worked alongside 50 HEAL colleagues and hundreds of local health leaders to take care of both unsheltered COVID positive patients in motels and extremely ill COVID patients across 5 Navajo Nation hospitals.

In this video series, UCSF HEAL Fellows and members of the solidarity team share their experiences on equity, solidarity, and the ongoing injustice of COVID disparities in the Navajo Nation.

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UCSF HEAL Fellow, 2016-18
Navajo Area Indian Health Service
“Working in highly underserved populations does not mean going out of the United States.”
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Alicia Catanese, RN
UCSF Solidarity Team, Navajo Nation
“This community pressed on and continue to press on, and will even after I leave"
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Sara Kaiser, RN
UCSF Solidarity Team, Navajo Nation
“That heart of service brings forward this energy.... of service."
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Sophia Busacca, RN
UCSF Solidarity Team, Navajo Nation
“You can work in these high stressful environments but if you don’t listen and don’t understand the environment you’re going into you’ll never accomplish how to be an ally and really understand that you’re there for more than just the medicine as a nurse or a doctor”
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UCSF HEAL Fellow, 2016-18
UCSF & Chhattisgarh, India
“We should start thinking about on one hand treating people who are sick for sure but also thinking about addressing these upstream issues"
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UCSF HEAL Fellow, 2018-20
Chinle, Navajo Nation
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UCSF HEAL Fellow, 2019-2021
Gallup Indian Medical Center
“My whole goal is to elevate health care for native Americans”
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UCSF HEAL Fellow, 2019-21
Chinle, Navajo Nation & Rural Malawi
“A lot of people describe Navajo nation as invisible, they are not invisible. The right words are probably, intentionally unheard or deliberately unseen”
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Co-Founder and Director, UCSF HEAL Initiative
“When UCSF and HEAL stood by Navajo nation it was really trying to understand the history, walk in right relationship and be in solidarity immersive shoulder to shoulder with our native colleagues”
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Charles Hood, RN
UCSF Solidarity Team, Navajo Nation
“Starting with basic needs is something that has to be thought about before far reaching health care equity. Without it you can’t have the other."
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Shea Williams, RN
UCSF Solidarity Team, Navajo Nation
“You bring everything that is you to the table and you allow that to work alongside what is already at the table.”
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