Novo Nordisk donates $3.5M to OSU to fund indigenous health initiative
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
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The Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy (CIHRP) at OSU Center for Health Sciences recently received a $3.5 million donation from Novo Nordisk Inc., to fund the Indigenous Foodways and Health Initiative.
The funds will support indigenous food systems and practices that strengthen language revitalization and access to traditional foods.
“After 20 years of working in public health with Native American communities, I have found that initiatives that support and strengthen cultural practices and traditions are the most effective strategies for promoting health,” said Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, professor of rural health and director of CIHRP, who also has a doctorate in public health and is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
“Gifts like this one from Novo Nordisk support Native peoples to implement programs of greatest priority to them, which are culturally centered and use indigenous research methods,” Jernigan said.
“Gifts like this one from Novo Nordisk support Native peoples to implement programs of greatest priority to them, which are culturally centered and use indigenous research methods.”
Novo Nordisk works to combat chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, and rare blood and endocrine diseases, many of which have a high prevalence in American Indian populations. The pharmaceutical company produces half of the world’s insulin supply, and more than 36 million people use their diabetic care products.
Jernigan said with this donation, the role of CIHRP will be to support the partnering communities in identifying and implementing measures to evaluate the impact of their programs on Native health.
“Our goal is simple, we believe all Native people should have the chance to lead a healthy, happy life and our work is always focused on this goal,” she said. “This gift is a big endorsement of the type of work we do at CIHRP, and we are humbled and honored to be able to carry this out in partnership with indigenous communities in Oklahoma.”