On the heels of graduating their fourth group of resident interns on June 22, PTHA staff welcomed four new ones as the Health Authority’s seventh class of resident doctors to arrive at PTHA since the program started. The four were honored at a PTHA staff lunch event on June 29.
Ashley Olson, Hilary Baer, Andrew Ma and Megan Aspelund (Alaska Native and PTHA’s second Native resident) each expressed much gratitude for being embraced by the Puyallup tribal community from the moment they walked through the PTHA doors. This is where they will be for the next three years, seeing patients to hone not just their technical skills, but to become true healers. PTHA Director Chris Henry spoke of this during the Spirit House lunchtime welcoming ceremony.
“You are healers, and that’s part of what you’re going to learn in the next three years – to be there for our community not only as a provider, but also someone to hear our elders when they have needs, and to hear in a different way so that you can look beyond the medicine for other ways and the resources that we have as a community to help our elders and our little ones and all of our families,” she said.
PTHA’s residency program has been blessed from the start in many ways, including the caliber of young doctors who have left lasting impressions on the Health Authority and members of the tribal community fortunate to have interacted with them. Chris Henry talked about this as well.
“I thank you for choosing us,” she said to the new residents. “We know that there are a lot of places that you could be, and we don’t think that it’s by chance that you ended up here. We feel like you’ve been called here to help our people and that’s where we raise our hands and give thanks to you for coming to be here for our elders, our babies, and our community.”
Taking part in the welcoming ceremony were three PTHA Board members: Council Vice Chairman David Bean, Councilmember Tim Reynon, and newly elected Councilmember Anna Bean.
“It’s an honor to be here today to welcome our new residency docs,” said Vice Chairman Bean. “I’m really excited to have you folks on board. On behalf of our Chairman Bill Sterud, we want to welcome you to the homeland of the Puyallup Tribe. We want to invite you to take part in our community events, to get to know our folks and becoming family.”
Councilman Reynon said the resident doctors are an important part of the Puyallup tribal family. “You’re going to be taking care of our people who are not feeling well and they’re looking to you for healing,” he said. “That might be physical healing, emotional healing, and so I would invite you to keep your mind open, your heart open. As you meet with our members, listen to what they’re saying – feel what they’re saying. Let the Creator guide you as you heal them – our Creator has brought you here.”
Councilwoman Anna Bean called 2018 “the year of healing” for the Tribe in that this also happens to be the year for the Tribe to host the Power Paddle to Puyallup Canoe Journey, the theme for which is “Honoring our Medicine.”
“Congratulations on the work you did to get here and we look forward to the work that you do as you come on board,” she said to the residents.
Before the ceremony ended and everyone broke bread together in Puyallup tradition, each resident was gifted with a beautifully hand-beaded stethoscope to mark their entry into this new chapter of their lives as healers.
Giving honor and thanks to the ancestors, Chris Henry said, “We’re looking forward to a good walk and we always remember where we come from and the people who come before us and the pathway that they’ve laid for us. We look for this to be a good walk with good work and we give thanks for that.”