In October 2022, family medicine resident from the University of Utah, Aaron Bia, MD had the opportunity to present at Naat’áánii Day at the Nebo School District located in Spanish Fork, UT. The day is a special opportunity for Native middle and high school students from various tribes to hear from a local Native leader. The name of the day comes from the Navajo word naat’áánii, meaning leader or planner, and is meant to highlight community members who use thinking and planning skills in leadership.
As part of his message, Dr. Bia was able to share with the students—as well as teachers, administrators, and counselors—the challenges and rewards of his clinical practice and training. His presentation included his pathway to medicine from his hometown on the Navajo Nation to becoming a resident physician at the University of Utah. His message to the Native students was to act on their dreams, make a plan, and always be a learner. He encouraged the school instructors and staff to keep motivating their students to achieve their goals in life. Dr. Bia is thankful to reciprocate his knowledge as a teacher and leader in his community that once taught him.
“I love doing community outreach and speaking sessions,” says Dr. Bia of the experience. “It was so powerful to speak to my native community, because I wish I had this as a high school student. To see a Native physician is so inspiring. This is why I came to the University of Utah, to pursue my dreams and to inspire the next generation of Native healers from rural communities.”
Dr. Bia is thankful for his continued support from his residency program as everyday he gets closer to becoming an independent Navajo physician. He plans to return to his home community on the Navajo Nation to practice after residency.