FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 30, 2020
Navajo Health Director Dr. Jill Jim Named Commencement Speaker
Jim Selected to President-elect Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board
TSAILE, Ariz. — Navajo Nation Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Jill Jim will serve as the Winter Commencement speaker for Diné College on Dec. 11, 2020 at 10 a.m.
A fluent Navajo speaker, Dr. Jim was recently picked as a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board. This year marks the first time the college is holding a winter commencement.
“We are honored to have (Dr. Jim) speak at our first winter commencement ceremony in the college’s 52-year history,” Diné College Provost Dr. Geraldine Garrity said. “Dr. Jim is a role model and someone who has a very relevant and powerful message during these tough times.”
For the past 18 years, Jim has spent a large part of her career addressing health care and health disparities among American Indians and Alaska Natives, according to a news release from the Biden transition team.
Dr. Jill Jim was appointed by Navajo President Jonathan Nez to serve as the Executive Director for the Navajo Nation Department of Health in January 2019.
Dr. Jim has a Doctorate in Public Health, a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration, a second Master’s in Public Health from the University of Utah. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Promotion and Community Health Education from Northern Arizona University. Some of her work experience includes serving as a Health Care Analyst for HealthInsight in Albuquerque, N.M., consultant for Navajo Area Indian Health Service, and Epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health.
A virtual graduation takes place simultaneously with an in-person ceremony. The graduating classes from Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 will attend one or the other ceremony. Diné College graduates who were unable to attend graduation ceremony for spring because of Covid-19 were invited to participate Dec.11.
Garrity, Ed.D., said for Fall 2020, 56 students petitioned to graduate and seven of those were confirmed to participate in-person. Garrity said 49 Fall 2020 graduates will be recognized virtually, and 11 students from Spring 2020 were confirmed to participate in-person on Dec. 11.
“The Fall 2020 and Spring 2020 graduates will be combined,” Garrity said. “This is the first fall graduation and was planned before the (Covid-19) pandemic.”
Garrity explained that the college is taking safety precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “All participants will be required to wear masks, social distance and be screened before entering the building. Graduates can bring up to three people in a vehicle.”
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