SEARHC hosts health discussion with Darryl Tonemah

May 01 2012

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Diabetes program will host noted health and wellness expert Darryl Tonemah, Ph.D., M.Ed., for a panel discussion about “Storytelling as a Tool to Heal.” This free event is open to the community and takes place from 2-5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít Community Health building first-floor conference room, 1212 Seward Ave.

Dr. Tonemah also will lead an all-day training on motivational interviewing for Sitka health providers, with an emphasis on working with patients who live with diabetes, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, at the Harrigan Centennial Hall Rousseau Room, 330 Harbor Dr. This training is being offered in partnership with Sitka Community Hospital Health Promotion.

Motivational interviewing is a collaborative, person-centered form of guiding to elicit and strengthen motivation for change. The educator’s goal is to guide clients in gaining confidence to sustain healthy behaviors for improved health. This is done by fostering a sincere collaboration between an educator and client. It also take knowledge, practice and skill.

A person of Kiowa/Comanche and Tuscarora heritage, Dr. Tonemah has been a champion for better health among Native people around the country and he has dedicated his professional career to the health and wellness of all Native peoples. He currently works with the National Institutes of Health on diabetes prevention and lifestyle change research among Indian populations. He works with Native groups throughout the United States and Canada.

Dr. Tonemah is president of American Indian Health and Management Policy, a Native-owned consulting firm about improving health care in Indian Country. He also is a partner in Native Health Group, promoting health education and wellness worldwide, and was the behavioral scientist for the southwest sites of the National Institutes of Health Diabetes Prevention Program. Dr. Tonemah recently was appointed to the board of directors for the American Diabetes Association, and he is founder of the Oklahoma Intertribal Diabetes Coalition. He has worked in the field of health and wellness for more than 20 years.

In addition, he is a highly motivating speaker and an accomplished musician and entertainer. Dr. Tonemah has recorded six award-winning and critically acclaimed CDs, and he has appeared in two movies. He currently is at work writing two books — one on health behavior change and the other part of a trilogy of novels.