Center for Native American Health

MSC07 4246
1001 Medical Arts Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Physical Location:
Integrity Building
2nd Floor

Phone: (505) 272-4100
Fax: (505) 272-6019

CNAH Honors 28 Native Health Sciences Grads at Annual Ceremony

May 11, 2016

Group Photo of 2016 Graduates

L-R: Danielle Tsingine Chang, Aprilshandiin Curley-Sherer, Reanna Draper, Candace Watts, Benjamin Dodge, Norman Cooeyate, Mason Silversmith, Jordan Murphy, & Ariel Hautzinger

The 2016 Health Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday marked the 11th year that CNAH has hosted the event. The annual ceremony recognizes Native American students graduating from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and their families.

In all, 28 Native American students from the spring 2016 graduating class were recognized for receiving undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the School of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, and the Biomedical Research Education Program.

The ceremony was MC’d by two Native American medical students – Julian Benavidez (Isleta) and Jaron Kee (Navajo). Students from the Native American Community Academy’s Zuni language class provided an opening blessing in Shiwi (Zuni) accompanied by their instructor, UNM Alumna Kellen Shelendewa. CNAH Director, Dr. Tassy Parker, welcomed graduates, families, and honored guests to the event and acknowledged the support of elected and University leaders in attendance.

Three speakers delivered the Alumni, Graduate, and Keynote Address for the ceremony. Speakers included UNM College of Nursing Alumna and Founder of the Changing Woman Initiative Nicolle Gonzales (Navajo), Graduate from Nursing Reanna Draper (Navajo), and State Representative Georgene Louis (Acoma). The speakers challenged graduates to become involved with their communities – to get to know their (elected) leaders, be active in cultural and community activities, to set an example for youth, and to share their stories with others.

Dr. Parker presented 10 graduates with a certificate of recognition and a Pendleton shawl/robe. Dr. Robert Sapien contributed in recognizing 4 graduates from the School of Medicine. The ceremony was all the more memorable, thanks to an honor song provided by Navajo recording artist, Andrew Thomas. NACA students provided the closing blessing in Zuni (Shiwi) and the ceremony came to a close with individual and family portraits of graduating students.

The staff and faculty of the Center for Native American Health would like to thank all of the graduates and guests for joining us at the 2016 Health Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony. And to the families, thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your loved one’s journey. Congratulations graduates!

To view more photos of the 2016 Health Sciences Graduation Recognition Ceremony, click here.

Undergraduate Studies

  • Norman Cooeyate (Pueblo of Zuni) – Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies
  • Seve Tom – Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Vernon Watson – Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Reanna Draper (Navajo Nation) – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Ariel Hautzinger (Navajo Nation) – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Nicole Pino (Navajo Nation) – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Emma Cohnheim – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Francine Dee – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Vivian Frazier – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Letisha Lee – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Sylvia Yazzie – Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Mason Silversmith (Navajo Nation) – Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Sciences

Graduate Studies

  • LaPrincess Tso – Master of Science in Nursing
  • Aprilshandiin Curley-Sherer (Navajo Nation) – Doctor of Medicine
  • Danielle Tsingine Chang (Navajo Nation & Hopi) – Doctor of Medicine
  • Candace Watts (Navajo Nation) – Doctor of Medicine
  • Tommie Begay – Doctor of Medicine
  • Elizabeth Garchar – Doctor of Medicine
  • Zachary Gillooly – Doctor of Medicine
  • Zane Maroney – Doctor of Medicine
  • Benjamin Dodge (Navajo Nation) – Doctor of Medicine
  • Jordan Murphy (Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh) – Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Falisha Begay – Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Lia Jasperse – Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Courtney Kessler – Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Matthew Garrett – Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Michael Smith – Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Sophia Malary – Doctor of Medicine (Resident)