University of California, Riverside

Center for Healthy Communities



Gathering of Good Minds Project


Gathering of Good Minds Cover

A Gathering of Good Minds: Engaging Native Americans in Wellness

"Chihuum Piiuywmk Inach," a Serrano phrase that translates to "A Gathering of Good Minds," is the name given to our project by Mr. Ernest Siva, respected elder from the Morongo Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians. The goal of the “Gathering of Good Minds: Engaging Native Americans in Wellness” project is to collaboratively build trust and lasting partnerships that will lay the groundwork for providers and Native American patients in the Riverside/San Bernardino area to address patient well-being and chronic health concerns.

The University of California, Riverside Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) and Riverside/San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc (RSBCIHI) are the primary partners for this Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Engagement Award. This project is intended to increase the capacity of our community partners to collaborate in research. We intend to achieve this goal with an approach that equitably involves all partners in the training process for developing, designing, and implementing research questions that are relevant to their lives. In doing so we recognize the unique strengths that each member brings to our gathering.

For more information please contact Juliet McMullin by email by phone at (951) 827-7853.

About the Gathering of Good Minds Project

Gathering of Good Minds (GoGM) aims to:

  • Build trust between Native American communities, researchers, and health care providers in the Riverside/San Bernardino area.
  • Share and understand concerns around health inequalities, chronic illnesses, and the role of intergenerational care.
  • Collaborative training in research ethics and methods.
  • Increase the capacity of community partners and UCR faculty and students to partner in community-engaged research.

GoGM aims are accomplished through several engagement activities:

  • Establishment of GoGM Action Planning Committee.
  • Host fellowship meetings.
  • Community forums.
  • Wellness summit.
Project Team

What's Happening Now?

To date, the Gathering of Good Minds project has formed an engaged 12 member Action Planning Committee which is providing guidance on the project as a whole.

On October 6, 2016 we will hold our first fellowship meeting. Historical trauma and its relationship to health will frame the conversation at our talking circles. We will host monthly Fellowship Meetings for six months at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Grand Terrace Clinic. At the conclusion of the first series, a second series of meetings will be held at the Morongo Clinic in Banning.

Project Partners

Dr. Kendall Shumway grew up in Northern Arizona between the Navajo and Apache Reservations and has enjoyed his 13 years working in Indian Health. During the past seven years, in addition to overseeing two Federal Indian Health Service Grants for Heart Health and Diabetes Care, he has been the diabetes director at RSBCIHI. This program consists of three diabetes educators, two fitness specialists, a medical assistant, and a family nurse practitioner who help oversee diabetes education and community outreach with the seven RSBCIHI clinics.

Luella Vann Thornton B.S., M.P.H., R.N., (retired) was a certified health education specialist, and recipient of the 2011 California Rural Indian Board (CRIB) award for significant contributions to the health care of Native American groups. As a health educator, Thornton has taught parenting courses and counseling on drug addiction. Originally from Proctor, OK, she is a member of the Ketoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.

Sherri Salgado is the vice chair of the RSBCIHI board of directors and member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians. Salgado has been a delegate to the Riverside - San Bernardino County Indian Health, Inc. since 1999. As a member of the RSBCIHI board of directors she is part of the Finance/ Planning Committee, the Diabetes Task Force, and the Wellness Committee. During her time at RSBCIHI she has seen the clinic grow and expand to offer new services. Her continual collaboration with RSBCIHI is integral to her being a part of improving Native American community wellness.

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