SMHS Alumna Serves Navajo Nation

Dr. Sara Michaels, SMHS MD ‘97 & MHS ’98, the current Chief of Family Medicine at Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico, was recently featured on the National Health Service Corps’ (NHSC) website for her commitment to providing primary care to the Navajo Nation community.

Dr. Michaels’ feature is the first installment of the NHSC’s Member Story Series, and comes at the beginning of National Minority Health Month. The NHSC is an organization that offers financial support to primary care providers and sites in underserved communities.

After training for family care in her home state of Washington, Dr. Michaels was linked to the Northern Navajo Medical Center through the NHSC, where she originally began working in order to fulfill the commitments she made in applying for medical school scholarships from the NHSC.

As stated on the NHSC website, the Scholarship Program “awards scholarships to students pursuing careers in primary care. In return, students commit to serving for two to four years, upon graduation and completion of training.” Dr. Michaels explains that while she was originally attracted to Northern Navajo to fulfill her scholarship, she has stayed there because she fell in love with the community and her patients.

In her opinion, “primary care is the foundation of a good healthcare system,” and Dr. Michaels takes this message to heart by developing long term relationships with her patients in the Navajo community (where diabetes, obesity, liver disease and rheumatoid arthritis are common), which enables her to better serve their needs.

Watch the full feature video to learn more about Dr. Michaels’ experience working at the Northern Navajo Medical Center!

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