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UND professor recognized by American Public Health Association

Warne, associate dean at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and director of the Indians Into Medicine program, accepted the Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award for Social Justice in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Warne was nominated for the award by Debbie Swanson, director of Grand Forks Public Health, and Melanie Nadeau, assistant director of the public health program at UND.

Donald Warne.jpg
Donald Warne

UND professor Donald Warne has received an award from the American Public Health Association.

Warne, associate dean at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences and director of the Indians Into Medicine program, accepted the Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award for Social Justice in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, Oct. 26. Warne was nominated for the award by Debbie Swanson, director of Grand Forks Public Health, and Melanie Nadeau, assistant director of the public health program at UND.

Warne was recognized for his work on social justice for underserved and disadvantaged populations. Warne was involved in helping the SMHS create the world’s first Department of Indigenous Health, and the recently announced Indigenous Trauma and Resilience Research Center, which resulted from a $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

In a Tuesday email sent from Denver, Warne said he viewed the recognition as a “team award,” and thanked Swanson and Nadeau for nominating him.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Helen Rodriguez-Trias Award for Social Justice from the American Public Health Association,” Warne said. “Dr. Rodriguez-Trias was a pediatrician and dedicated her career to promoting social justice and health equity for marginalized populations. She was well known as a friend and advocate who transcended populations. Regarding my work in social justice and health equity, at UND we have an incredible team and outstanding support from administration, including (SMHS Dean Joshua) Wynne and President (Andrew) Armacost.”

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Warne’s nomination for the award was supported by numerous colleagues at UND, state lawmakers, Gov. Doug Burgum, local public health officials among others.

“His unwavering commitment informs public policy, empowers health care professionals, saves countless lives and raises awareness of Native Americans and other Indigenous people face on a daily basis throughout the world,” wrote Burgum, in a letter to the APHA.

Swanson said she first became familiar with Warne’s work when he was featured in an episode of the Public Broadcasting Service’s documentary series “Unnatural Causes: Is inequality making us sick?” Warne appeared in a segment about sugar, where he discussed sugar, oppression and empowerment in some Native American communities.

“I can't say enough good things about (Donald) Warne,” Swanson said. “He's just a genuine, nice person who cares about people, and it's just such a pleasure to be able to work with him in the public health field and in our community, too.”

Earlier this year. Swanson and Nadeau undertook a support campaign for Warne, and reached out to UND administrators, lawmakers and others to write letters on his behalf to the APHA.

Including Burgum, Warne was supported by Wynne and other UND SMHS professors; State Sen. Judy Lee, R-West Fargo; State Rep. Gretchen Dobervich, D-Fargo, Cole Allick, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and Renae Moch, MBA, president of North Dakota Public Health Association, among others.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

Desk: 701-780-1110
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