UTTC Tackles Injury Prevention Education

Feb 15th, 1999 | By | Category: 10-3: Distance Education, Tribal College News
INJURY PREVENTION STUDENTS

The first students in the program are Sharon Clairmont, Rosebud Sioux Tribe; Yvette Belgarde, Turtle Mountain Chippewa; Minnie Plenty Chief and Lyle Uses Arrow, Standing Rock Sioux; Geri Whiteman, Crow; Sandi Karlson, Turtle Mountain Chippewa; and Sandy Summa, Ute Mountain Ute.

United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) has created a new program of study leading to an associate of applied science degree in injury prevention. Located in Bismarck, N.D., and serving over 40 tribes, UTTC wants to become the injury prevention center for the nation, according to Dennis Renville, the program instructor. The first students who enrolled in the program felt passionate about wanting to make a difference on their home reservations. Sandy Summa said there is an epidemic of domestic violence and motor vehicle crashes on her reservation, Ute Mountain Ute in Colorado, and on other reservations she has visited.

“In my own family, my older brother committed suicide, another brother has AIDS, and my sister lost her baby to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). That was enough,” Summa said. Before enrolling at UTTC, she worked with youth at a shelter in Colorado. “They have a lot of potential. They just need a little bit of help,” she said. Renville wants to train students for injury prevention specialist jobs with local, national, and tribal organizations. He hopes tribes will create jobs for his graduates. The courses address violence, residential and recreation injuries, epidemiology, traffic related injuries, alcohol, and drugs.

“The students are my role models,” Renville said. They go before the media and tell about the need for the program. To recruit students and raise awareness, Renville helped developed a video called the “Eagle’s Cry” about drinking and driving. The video was funded by the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the National Highway Safety Administration. UTTC also sponsors Native American Life Saver conferences on domestic violence, suicide, and gangs. The next will be June 15-16. Call Dennis Renville at (701) 255-3285 ext. 374 for more information. Renville, a member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, has a master’s degree in counseling and a bachelor’s degree in education. The program is funded by the IHS, Office of Minority Health, and the Center for Disease Control.

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