Fri May 25th, 2018
Jeremy Wade Shockley
The Southern Ute Drum
Southern Ute tribal member Morgann Box is nothing short of ambitious. Having finished a Bachlor’s degree in Public Health at Fort Lewis College, she immediately sought out career opportunities with her own Tribe. Good fortune in both her timing and educational background played a role in her acceptance to an apprenticeship position with Shining Mountain Health and Wellness, a program under the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Health Department.
Fast forward one year, and Box is now stepping into the leadership role she was trained to take on.
In May of this year, Morgann Box earned the title of Diabetes Program Coordinator for Shining Mountain Health and Wellness, under Tribal Health. “We promote health and wellness on all sorts of levels, I think that prevention starts with the youth in regards to diabetes,” Box said. If we can teach our youth about healthy lifestyle choices, fitness and nutrition — we can do a lot to prevent diabetes, she explained. “A lot of what this program does is manage diabetes,” Box said. Ethnicities are going to have a predisposition to diabetes, so prevention is key. Support of health related activities is also a priority for the program.
Her strong ties to Southern Ute culture are also very important to Box, and she relates them back into her position with Shining Mountain. “Our nutritionists try to adjust the food plate to what is accessible and traditional, incorporating relevant foods,” Box explained. The program offers resources such as SunUte memberships for those in need, nutrition education, while also incorporating cultural awareness.
“In every problem she has faced in helping other tribal members, she has stepped back and used her cultural knowledge. She has reached out to elders for advice,” Tribal Health Director Carole Veloso said. “I believe she is a tribal member that will have a meaningful impact on the Tribe as she grows into her role.”
“This position is public health at its finest,” Veloso stated. “We are a federally qualified health center, not a lot of people understand the scope of that.”
Veloso mentored Box under the twelve-month apprenticeship program. “Carole taught me like no other supervisor or mentor has ever done. She helped me figure things out for myself and think critically — she is a great mentor,” Box said.
Box completed her Bachelor’s degree at Fort Lewis College with help from a Southern Ute Higher Education Department scholarship. Prior to college, she worked with the Boys & Girls Club of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe through the Youth Employment Program. In looking back at her apprenticeship, Box said, “I used all the resources available to me — to help me grow.”