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Career Profile: Health Educator - Frank GrayShield

Career Profile: Health Educator - Frank GrayShield

Frank GrayShield, M.P.H., holds a poster that commemorates the American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month observed in November 2001.

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education


Before beginning, let me introduce myself in English in the traditional American Indian way:

“Greetings. My name is Frank L. GrayShield. I am a Washoe from Nevada. My clan is the Redfox Clan. My tribe’s homeland is the lands surrounding Lake Tahoe in Nevada and California. I grew up on the Quechan reservation, Fort Yuma, California and, I am a Navy Veteran.”

I chose this career because…

I chose to become a health educator because of a combination of events and people that influenced me throughout my life. The following key individuals role-modeled good work ethics and influenced me to choose a career that would allow me to be creative and innovative with many rewarding experiences. Women in the family were also key influences that motivated us to be the best we could be. Also, the military experience gave me the self-discipline I needed to be responsible for my actions.

• Bachelor of Science, Major in Psychology, Minor in Sociology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona
• Master of Public Health , School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California

My typical workday involves…

My typical workday as a health educator is spent administering the American Indian and Alaska Native Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) pilot projects and planning for new projects to deliver CVD information and health training to tribes in the United States. My current project focuses on assessing the impact of the pilot projects on the tribal community, where we are teaching about ways to reduce risk through good nutrition and exercise. I am working with three different tribes, with different lifestyles, from three different geographical areas. What they have in common are the risk of cardiovascular disease and the need for appropriate health information.

My major duties are:

• Communicating with all parties involved in the project, including tribal community coordinators, NIH scientists, and other professionals
• Managing the administrative and financial tasks, including the projects budget

At NIH, I am one of the founders and the Chair of the American Indian/Alaska Native Employees Council (AIANEC). We meet four times a year to discuss NIH issues related to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) research and outreach projects. Mr. GrayShield and the council members sponsored the Native American and Alaskan Heritage month in November 2001 and 2002 to inform other NIH employees of their presence on the campus, and their willingness to assist and advise them in outreach activities.

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