Bruce Kafer, RN, MSN is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (Oglala Lakota Nation) and is a PhD in Nursing student at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio
He also is a graduate of Cleveland State University where he attained a Master of Science (MSN) in Nursing in Population Health Nursing. He also possesses a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing and an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Community Mental Health Technology.
Mr. Kafer produced a national video for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs entitled, Native America: Diversity Within Diversity. This film received an independent film award and used an oral storytelling format to follow him in his nursing practice locally and in Arizona with Native American veterans and also provided key instruction on the diversity within Native America.
Mr. Kafer continues to maintain positive working relationship with Native Americans in the State of Ohio and across the nation. Nationally, he has served on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Native American Advisory Council and has also worked with the Native American workgroup of the VHA Under Secretary for Health Diversity Advisory Board. Mr. Kafer has also worked with the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System and the New Mexico VA Health Care System in the development and implementation of their Native American "Gathering of Healers" programs. These innovative experiential training programs are based on a traditional Native American paradigm of spirit, mind, and body, and utilize a cultural immersion approach where western oriented health care providers and Native Americans come together in a four day holistic session.
Throughout Mr. Kafer's education he has become increasingly aware of the historic disenfranchisement of American Indians and Alaska Natives and resultant health care disparities. In addition, how access and cultural relevance contribute to Native American health. Mr. Kafer's traditional Lakota name is Wahancanka Yapi Yuha Mani which in English translates to "Walks With Shield." This name was given to him by his tiospaye (Lakota extended family) and reflects his commitment to serve as a warrior for the people. He remains a stalwart advocate for indigenous people as well as all people and has research interests in the utilization of traditional knowledge and traditional Native American healing modalities in the delivery of substance abuse and mental health care within western health care settings.