Donna M. Grandbois is currently the coordinator on a newly created electronic Diversity Discussion Forum at the University of North Dakota (UND). This forum will facilitate an electronic dialogue on diversity issues between UND and other institutions of higher learning, particularly tribal colleges, historically black or predominately minority institutions. These exchanges will provide a forum for discussing issues related to diversity in the broadest sense. Ms. Grandbois is on the cusp of receiving her doctoral degree in gerontology and counseling at North Dakota State University, expecting to graduate in May, 2007. Her dissertation will explore the historical and contemporary concept of mental illness among Native Americans.
Ms. Grandbois has a masters degree in psychiatric nursing and has taught both mental health theory and served as a psychiatric clinical instructor at UND since 2001. She has been an outspoken advocate for minority people who must not only confront mental illness, but the stigma that is so prevalent in these close, usually rural communities. She was asked to be one of three American Indian Alaska Native presenters for a free teleconference training sponsored by the ADS Center at the SAMHSA Resource Center to Address Discrimination and Stigma Associated with Mental Illness. Her Power Point presentation was titled: Overcoming Barriers and the Stigma Associated with Mental Illness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities. She is the author of two papers published in 2005, both discussing stigma and mental illness. They are: Stigma of Mental Illness among American Indian and Alaska Native Nations: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. (2005) and Perspectives on Suicide Prevention among American Indians and Alaska Native Children and Adolescents: A Call for Help (2005), Gary, F.A., Baker, M., & Grandbois, D.M. She has recently received notice that her manuscript: Historical and Cultural Issues Related to Mental Health and Aging in American Indian Communities has been selected in the first round to compete for the BSS-Pre-Dissertation Award sponsored by The Gerontological Society of America. In November 2005, Ms. Grandbois was a panelist at the National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association (NANAINA) Conference in Washington, DC and was a presenter at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Brownbag Lecture on The Concept of Mental Illness and Stigma among American Indian Communities.
Ms. Grandbois was the co-investigator and tribal liaison on a three phase, four reservation research project that sought to define health and illness among American Indians experiencing severe and persistent mental illness. It was in this capacity that Ms. Grandbois became acutely aware of the often insurmountable barrier that stigma can present for the American Indian client. Ms. Grandbois is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Bank of Chippewa Indians, Belcourt, ND.
Donna Grandbois presented a poster presentation titled, “Historical and Cultural Issues Related to Mental Health and Aging in American Indian Communities,” at the Gerontological Society of America’s 59th Annual Scientific Conference, November 16 – 20, 2006, in Dallas, TX
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