We want to send a hearty congratulations to Savannah Smith at the University of Colorado Denver’s Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health! Savannah’ was nominated for a Local Impact Award at the Annual Heroes in Health Awards Gala sponsored by the National Indian Health Board on September 19 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Savannah was nominated for her exceptional work in coordinating the 2018 run for the Stronghold Fun Run and Hypertension Symposium held this past June in Denver, Colorado. Savannah’s work supported several wonderful speakers, encouraged fitness and fun for over 150 community members, gathered 70 assessments, and raised over $2500 for the event’s nonprofit partner, the Stronghold Society.

Savannah is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and has always been interested in working with Native communities. Her commitment to public health was inspired by an introductory course in this field during her undergraduate studies at Mills College in California. After finishing her studies, she moved back home to Colorado and began volunteering with the Diabetes and Wellness program at Denver Indian Health and Family Services. She then accepted a job with the University of Colorado’s Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, where she has worked for the past two years. So far in her career, Savannah has encountered a critical need for Native researchers, clinicians, and health promoters. As she says,

“We need more researchers to really connect with and have experience working with Native communities so that the relationships, the research, and the health outcomes are better aligned with those communities.”

We are very proud of Savannah, and we look forward to seeing more of her amazing work with our Native communities!