History Lessons

Dr. John Lowe speaking at the Littlefield Lecture Series 2019
Dr. John Lowe presents the 20th Littlefield Leadership Lecture, “Health Equity Among Native Americans Within a Colonization Context,” October, 2019

Native Americans face some of the highest rates of health disparities and poverty in the country, inequities that indigenous health care expert Dr. John Lowe explored when he visited the School of Nursing to deliver the 20th Littlefield Leadership Lecture.

“To understand who we are as a people today, our history and our past must be understood.” —Dr. John Lowe

“To understand who we are as a people today, our history and our past must be understood,” said Lowe, a registered nurse and the first Native American man to be named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Lowe shared real-life examples and stories to illustrate how colonization created historical trauma that led to the inequities that American Indians and Alaska Natives experience today. Nurses have an opportunity to address health needs in Native populations, and providing culturally appropriate care requires understanding this context, Lowe said.

As one of only 23 Native Americans with a doctorate in nursing, Lowe has represented Native American and indigenous health care professionals in national and international forums. A Cherokee tribal member, Lowe serves as the McKenzie Professor in Health Disparities Research and executive director of the Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity at Florida State University.

Lowe appeared last fall for the event named after Dean Emerita Vivian Littlefield, which highlights nurse leadership in health and health care topics. He also highlighted his work in community-based participatory research, early intervention programs for youth, and in co-authoring the first conceptual framework for nursing in Native American culture.