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Bill Could Increase Native American Medical Professionals In Oregon

Senate Bill 293 is making its way through the Oregon legislature. It's designed to get more Native Americans into medical careers in tribal communities across the state.

If passed, the bill would provide full scholarships to students from Oregon’s 9 federally recognized tribes who are attending Oregon Health and Science University. The idea is for these students to then work in tribal health facilities after graduation.

Brenda Bremner, General Manager of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, says tribal practitioners would have a unique understanding of issues her people have gone through.

BREMNER: “They know what is occurring in their families, they know what’s occurring in the communities that they came from. And so recruiting them back to the community to live and work is a positive for everybody.”

Bremner says there’s a high turnover rate for non-tribal medical providers at their clinics, and SB 293 could be a viable solution.

The bill is sponsored by District 29 Senator Bill Hansell-R and is awaiting action in the Oregon legislature's budget-writing committee. 

Copyright 2019 KLCC

Melorie Begay
Melorie Begay is the Diversity Fellow for KLCC News. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.