Rapid rise in syphilis hits Native Americans in the Southwest hardest

Syphilis infections nationwide reached a 70-year high in 2022, and no group has been hit harder than Native Americans, CDC data shows. Rates of congenital syphilis were three times higher for Indigenous than for Black babies, and 12 times higher than for whites.

Indigenous advocates work to combat fake sober living homes in Arizona

PHOENIX – After Arizona legislation targeting fake sober living homes failed, tribal advocates across the state are working to combat the $2.8 billion Medicaid scheme that targets vulnerable Indigenous individuals.

New Sage Memorial Hospital transforms Navajo health care

GANADO – A new $177 million state-of-the-art medical facility in the Navajo Nation is nearing completion. Before the new hospital opens, staff must keep caring for patients in cramped spaces and with outdated equipment. All of that will change this fall when the new facility opens. Here’s a look at how radically different the new hospital will be.

Sage Memorial Hospital’s new $177 million medical facility is set to open in October. (Photo by Kevinjonah Paguio/Cronkite News)

Mobile units and nutrition assistance extend Sage Memorial’s reach

GANADO – Sage Memorial Hospital is tackling access to health care beyond its main facility in Ganado, with two mobile units.

One of Sage Memorial’s mobile health care units displays its mission statement. “We’re hoping to provide comprehensive health care services,” said Kathryn Barron, nurse practitioner and director of outpatient services and community health at Sage Memorial. (Photo by Kevinjonah Paguio/Cronkite News)

Salton Sea immigrant community experiences high rates of asthma from inhaling dust from the drying sea bed

NORTH SHORE, California – Childhood asthma rates are disproportionately high for immigrant families who live and work near the Salton Sea in Southern California. Scientists say the alarming rate of respiratory problems comes from inhaling dust of decayed fish that ingested toxic materials flowing into the sea from nearby agricultural sites.

The Salton Sea in Southern California used to be a popular tourist destination, but the environment has been decimated through agricultural runoff and natural disasters as the water recedes. Photo taken on April 6. (Photo by Jack Orleans/Cronkite News)

Navajo psychiatrist bridges gaps between Native American culture and behavioral health care

GANADO – Dr. Richard Laughter, a Navajo psychiatrist practicing in the heart of the Navajo Nation, incorporates Native American cultural practices into the behavioral health program at Sage Memorial Hospital in Ganado.

Dr. Richard Laughter incorporates traditional Native methods into his psychiatric practice. “You can only do so much for their mental health if you’re just using meds and short therapy sessions,” he said. (Photo by Kevinjonah Paguio/Cronkite News)

Best foot forward: Tucson farrier educates Native American communities on horseshoeing

TUCSON – George Goode explains the significance of farrier education through his nonprofit organization, the Native American Horse Education Foundation, which provides courses to Native American communities in Sells.

George Goode sits in front of his trailer on the Tohono O’odham Nation on April 10, 2024. Goode bought his trailer 30 years ago when the Native American Horse Education Foundation was still a dream. Now, he uses the trailer daily to help teach equine education to Native Americans. It houses materials necessary for horseshoeing, including burners, anvils, nails and shoes. (Photo by Sam Ballesteros/Cronkite News)

‘Combating this epidemic’: Native Americans gather to address suicide prevention

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Indian Center recently held its 2024 Annual Suicide Prevention Convening to address the staggering losses due to mental health in Native American communities.

A series of turquoise signs along southbound U.S. 89 near Tuba City proclaims the Navajo Nation's resiliency amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo by Sierra Alvarez/Cronkite News)

4th annual American Indian Youth Disability Summit honors ASU student with Youth Tribal Leadership Award

PHOENIX – The fourth annual American Indian Youth Disability Summit, held April 13, was created to support young American Indians with disabilities and provide peer advocacy. This year’s Youth Tribal Leadership Award was given to an ASU student studying speech and hearing sciences.

Zoë Alexis Irwin wins the Jim E. Warne Jr. Youth Tribal Leadership Award at the fourth annual American Indian Youth Disability Summit on Saturday, April 13. (Photo courtesy of Zoë Alexis Irwin)

Tribal leaders seeking solutions to cartel crime, say they mostly got talk

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers wanted to talk about the problems of criminal cartels on Indigenous lands, but tribal leaders came to the House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing seeking solutions. Instead, they said, they left afraid it was just another "check-a-box-off" exercise.

The first Indigenous woman in space never planned on becoming an astronaut

AVONDALE – It was never in her plans to become the first Indigenous woman in space but Nicole Mann’s career path eventually took her there. At Estrella Mountain Community College, she shares her unorthodox journey of becoming a NASA astronaut.

Tohono O’odham Nation receives grant to expand internet connectivity

TOHONO O’ODHAM NATION – The Tohono O'odham Nation received $10 million in grants to expand its internet connectivity to regions that previously had no internet.

June Starr, left, helps Francine Jose operate her computer and guides her through Gmail on Feb. 13. Jose was part of a group of residents from Chukut Kut, a Tohono O'odham district on the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by Crystal Aguilar/Cronkite News)