News Release – Diné College’s Summer Research Enhancement Program Presentations See New Approach

Diné College’s Summer Research Enhancement Program (SREP) recently completed its 2019 session. SREP prepares Native American students for careers in public health and disease prevention research.​


Aug. 29, 2019

TSAILE, Ariz. — The Diné College Summer Research Enhancement Program (SREP) recently concluded with more than a dozen students and administrators from area universities taking part in a series of presentations about public health and disease prevention.

A nearly six-hour seminar–styled event took place at the Student Union Building and under the direction of Mark Bauer, Ph.D., a member of Diné College’s science faculty. Bauer has overseen SREP for nearly 20 years.

The presentations featured timed talks about asthma, adolescent sexual health and mental wellness. There were more than a dozen students who took part in this year’s SREP.

“The presentations went exceedingly well,” Bauer said. “I was very pleased with the level of work by the students.”

The students were assigned a project to design a community, assess the community’s needs in health areas, plan programs to either prevent or help manage illness or promote wellness and consider how best to implement the programs.

Bauer said there were some new approaches taken in the final presentations. He said one student worked with the Navajo Nation Health Education Program to survey young people around the Navajo Nation about their interests in text messaging intervention to promote sexual health. Another student conducted surveys on sexual assault and domestic violence awareness, he said.

“For the second consecutive year, we had five presentations on asthma, as part of a collaboration with a large asthma study by the Jewish Children’s Hospital and the University of Arizona,” Bauer said.

Yannabah Tsinnijinnie is from Many Farms, Ariz., and was part of a group that gave a presentation on adolescent sexual health within the Fort Defiance community. In that group were students from Northeastern University in Boston and another from Stanford University in California. A Chinle High School graduate, Tsinnijinnie worked with the Chinle Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health as part of the project.

Tsinnijinnie earned an associate’s of science degree in health occupation from Diné College in 2018 and is on pace to receive a bachelors in public health from Diné College in 2020. She said she ultimately wants to attend the University of Arizona for graduate school.

“(SREP) is something that is a plus for students majoring in the science field,” Tsinnijinnie said. “You learn a lot and you get the chance to learn even more from your field experience.”

Bauer holds a doctoral degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. The other administrators and professors who work with SREP hold advanced degrees as well.

The presentations pertained to class assignments about assessing health needs in Chinle, Tuba City, Fort Defiance and Shiprock — each a sizeable community on the Navajo Nation.

SREP prepares Native American students for careers in public health and disease prevention research. It is also designed to strengthen the research capabilities of tribal colleges and universities.

SREP students ate trained to develop research skills and to prepare for community-based projects within the Navajo Nation and surrounding Native communities.