Courtesy NDSU
Left: Donald Warne, director of the Master of Public Health program and the new center; right: Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission

NDSU to Establish American Indian Public Health Resource Center


Warne will serve as director of the center. He is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and is the only American Indian Master of Public Health director in the country.

The center will employ up to 10 people, including an operational manager responsible for leading day-to-day work, project managers, support staff and graduate assistants.

The center will provide hands-on experiences for NDSU public health graduate students and tribal college students through assistantships, internships, student projects and other activities.

Petra Reyna One Hawk, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and a student in the Master of Public Health program, will work at the center through a graduate assistantship. “I know firsthand some of the struggles we have on the reservation,” she said. “In our family, we have always believed in education, so I see this as an opportunity to learn and to achieve some of the goals others and I have for our communities to overcome some of those struggles.”

A committee of representatives from each of the four tribes in North Dakota and the National Indian Health Board will advise the center. The advisory committee will ensure center activities respond appropriately to the public health needs of tribal communities and identify opportunities for future activities.

"Many of the health challenges Tribal Nations in North Dakota face can be addressed early on through quality research, programming, policy and ultimately work in tribal communities,” said Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission. “The center will provide our regional Tribal Nations a huge needed resource in combating those health challenges for today and tomorrow. It is definitely a game changer.”

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in a variety of selected areas. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1 billion to a wide range of charitable organizations. The Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $217 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information on the Trust and its programs, visit


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