Supporting Native American Healthcare Careers: A New Partnership with NNACoE

Another Exciting Philanthropic Partnership

In 2023, Pendleton committed to provide yearly grants to two nonprofit partnerships, funded through sales of all Pendleton merchandise using the Chief Joseph pattern. In our last blog post, we talked about our commitment to support Native American language preservation. In this post, we will be writing about a program that supports Native Americans in their journey to serve the community as health care professionals: The Northwest Native American Center of Excellence (NNACoE) at Oregon Health & Science University.

A young woman stands on a mountain, with the words "We belive in a new generation of Indigenous health leaders, and the logo for the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence - photo courtesy of the NNACoE

The Northwest Native American Center of Excellence

The Northwest Native American Center of Excellence (NNACoE) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) works to address the health care needs of all people by increasing the number of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in the health professions workforce. According to their website, this is accomplished by:

  • Recruiting the next generation. We inspire Native youth to nurture their identity as future healers. We use digital stories, text mentorship, and clinical shadowing to explore health careers.
  • Training tomorrow’s leaders. We prepare the Native health leader of tomorrow. We equip students for medical school through a 10-month culturally rooted pathway.
  • Retaining a vibrant community. We create an Indigenous learning community for Natives to ascend in medicine. We provide opportunities for connection through innovative coursework & career development.

NNACoE was established in 2017. Since then, the number of AI/AN medical students at OHSU has tripled, and now make up nearly 10% of the two most recent matriculating classes at OHSU School of Medicine. Building on this success, NNACoE is currently collaborating with a variety of partners to establish nursing and dentistry health professions pathways as well as medical pathway programs in present-day Washington and California. Pendleton will support the Northwest Native American Center of Excellence by generating donations through sales of all merchandise that uses the Chief Joseph design.

Dr. Erik Brodt, NNACoE Director and Assistant Dean of Native American Health at OHSU, is hopeful for the positive impact of the initiative on health workforce needs. “We are optimistic about the budding partnership with Pendleton to support training the future health leaders of tomorrow at OHSU NNACoE. This has the potential to be a profound step forward in the right direction to make certain that rural and Tribal communities across the country have access to high quality, safe, affordable, and culturally-congruent health care in their communities. We thank Pendleton for their vision and partnership.”

Support for this new partnership will be accomplished through donations generated by sales of all merchandise that uses the Chief Joseph design, including blankets, apparel, accessories, home goods, and any collaborative or licensed products.

A Chief Joseph blanket on the loom.

CHIEF JOSEPH: First produced in the 1920s, the Chief Joseph blanket is one of the oldest ongoing blankets woven by Pendleton Woolen Mills. The pattern celebrates the heroism of the great Nez Perce leader with a balanced design of arrowheads pointing in all directions of Mother Earth. Chief Joseph, known by his people as In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder Coming Up Over the Land From the Water), assumed his role as Chief in 1877.  See products here: Chief Joseph

Learn More about Pendleton’s Partnerships

This new partnership will join Pendleton’s philanthropic efforts with: 

Blue "Born in Oregon" logo

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