ST on Health: A Chat with Dr. Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan of OU-Tulsa --- A Researcher and Filmmaker

May 15, 2014

This edition of SToH presents an interesting discussion about the "food insecurity" affecting so many Native American individuals, families, and communities today, here in Oklahoma and all over the nation. Addressing this insecurity --- and the serious and widespread health issues stemming from it --- is no easy task, and we meet a locally based public-health researcher, filmmaker, activist, and advocate who's taking a deliberately multifaceted approach in doing so. Dr. Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan is our guest; she is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health at the OU-Tulsa Health Sciences Center. As such, she's a dedicated practitioner of community-based participatory research, and one example of such research is her in-progress, randomized, five-years-in-duration THRIVE study, which has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and other notable outlets. ("THRIVE" stands for Tribal Health and Resilience in Vulnerable Environments.) Also, moving from issues of food insecurity or nutritional instability into matters of socio-cultural relevance and well-being, Dr. Jernigan tells us about her recently-completed documentary film, "Forty Winters," which (per this film's website) attempts to depict "the idealism and the aftermath of the American Indian Movement as told through one family's struggle for cultural identity and survival."