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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Arizona Director of Health Disparities Receives National Rural Health Award

Ms. Agnes Attakai, director of health disparities outreach and prevention education at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is the recipient of the Rosemary McKenzie Legacy Award from the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) for her work to improve the health of underserved populations in rural Arizona.

[Photo: Ms. Agnes Attakai]

The award is given to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution of major significance in improving health for multiracial and multicultural, LGBT, veterans, homeless, and other underserved populations.

Ms. Attakai is a member of the Navajo Nation and a champion of health equity in Arizona and nationally. She has worked diligently for 17 years to reduce health disparities among Arizona’s Native Americans, most notably by developing the Native American health care and public health workforce.

Ms. Attakai is the coordinator of the Arizona Indians Into Medicine program at the UAHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the UA Native American Research and Training Center. Her area of interest is health education, health communication, health promotion and disease prevention, and community capacity building in rural and urban American Indian communities. With a focus on multi-media curriculum development and digital storytelling training, Ms. Attakai also develops educational materials and curriculum on health prevention for Community Health Workers (Promotoras de Salud) and tribal organizations.

Ms. Attakai is a board member of the Educational Enrichment Foundation, an independent non-profit 501c3 organization founded by Tucson’s community and business leaders in order to support the students and teachers within Tucson Unified School District schools. In addition, she is a member of the following organizations and councils: American Indian Science and Engineering Society, American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Caucus of the American Public Health Association, Arizona Area Health Education Center Advisory Committee, National Congress of American Indians, Native Research Network, Office of Minority Health, National Partnership for Action Regional Health Equity Council Region IX, Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and the University Arizona Health Sciences Diversity Working Group.

Ms. Attakai has a bachelor’s degree in political science and American Indian studies and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona. She received additional training through the National Cancer Institute Native Researcher Cancer Control Training Program at the Oregon Health &  Science University; Community Health Advocate Native Telehealth Outreach and Technical Assistance Program at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center; and the Woodrow Wilson Summer Institutes Fellowship in Public Policy and International Affairs at the University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Attakai and fellow 2018 Rural Health Award recipients, will be honored at the NRHA’s 41st  Annual Rural Health Conference, May 8-11 in New Orleans.