Native Youth Voices on Health Care: Access is a Priority

At the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), we are dedicated to improving the health, safety and overall well-being of Native American youth through communication, policy development, and advocacy. To date we have connected with over 3,700 youth through 99 roundtables across the country, and are working to elevate their voices and connect them with needed resources. CNAY consistently hears that lack of access to health care is a serious issue in tribal and urban Indian communities. So we are working with youth, to lift up their stories about lack of health care access and how it prevents Native American youth from reaching their full potential.

We recently supported two Native American youth in successfully placing their opinions about lack of access to dental care in local newspapers. We are motivated and inspired by their stories and trust you will be too.

Littlebear Sanchez, Lipan/Mescalero Apache Nation addresses dental care access in New Mexico and highlights the success of a tribally-driven solution in Alaska. The full story can be found here in the Albuquerque Journal.

Alayna Eagle Shield, Standing Rock Nation, discusses the need for more dental care providers in North Dakota and the strength of tribally-driven solutions. The full story can be found here in the INFORUM (Fargo Forum).

Do you have a story you want to share? Want to get involved? CNAY wants to hear from Native youth about their viewpoints on health care access, especially on dental care. Please feel free to share our submission form with Native youth who would like to share their story. The form can be found here. Or feel free to email or call CNAY’s Policy Fellow Joaquin at or 202.833.7433.


Center for Native American Youth

About the Center for Native American Youth
Founded by former US Senator Byron Dorgan, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) is a policy program within the Aspen Institute, headquartered in Washington, DC. While a part of The Aspen Institute, CNAY is also overseen by a Board of Advisors. The goal of CNAY is to bring greater national attention to the issues facing Native American youth, and to foster solutions, with special emphasis on youth suicide prevention. How you can help.

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