Tribal Member and Health and Human Services Department Team Member Honored Two Days in a Row
By Katie Halloran
Bringing in a Mobile Mammography Van on Indigenous Pink Day this year for NHBP is just one example of how Tribal Member and Community Health Representative (CHR) Lisa Walker reduces health care access barrier for Indigenous women. Walker only began working for NHBP less than two years ago, but her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by others.
In October 2023, awarded on two consecutive days, Walker earned two prestigious awards for her work and advocacy in her field as a CHR for NHBP, one being in the field of cancer.
The first award was the Jean E. Chabut Public Health Advocate from the Michigan Association of Local and Public Health and the Michigan Public Health Association, awarded on October 3, 2023.
Nominated by her supervisor, Community Health Outreach Manager Shelby Brueck, MPH, CHES®, Walker’s nomination for the Jean E. Chabut Award reads:
“CHRs work to provide a link between the clinical setting and the community, assisting by increasing the health knowledge of clients and communities through a broad range of activities and services. Lisa advocates for her clients on a daily basis. She is always going above and beyond to ensure her client’s needs are met. Lisa is a natural public health advocate and does all of this work with passion and empathy.”
The second bestowed upon Walker was the first High Five Award: Saluting Excellence in Michigan Healthcare, granted by the American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network, awarded to Walker on October 4, 2023.
The ACS Cancer Action Network notes that Walker has shown exemplary service: “You have been nominated by someone you work with, and they noticed you have gone above and beyond for your patients and families. You have shown exemplary service in caring for your patients and have shown selfless dedication, empathy, understanding, and constantly raise the bar for what quality care means.”
For Walker, going “above and beyond” comes second nature as she helps her fellow Tribal Members navigate the complexities of the health care system by getting appointments, follow-up care and the proper referrals.
Her daily work rings extremely personal.
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2020, Walker knows firsthand how complicated, and even scary, navigating the health care system can be for patients and their loved ones.
As the world experienced shutdowns and social isolation that year, Walker used that moment in time as her silver lining to quietly complete her intensive breast cancer treatment, which required long periods of self-isolation, due to chemotherapy’s effects on her immune system.
“I was able to focus on myself, take that time and undergo treatment without having to make any excuses why I couldn’t attend events, why I looked or felt different,” said Walker.
Now having arrived on the other side of her cancer diagnosis, Walker uses her personal experience and empathy to assist her fellow NHBP Tribal Members and clients in whatever challenges they face.
Congratulations to Walker for not only overcoming breast cancer, but also for her daily advocacy of her patients’ mental, physical and cultural health and well-being within her role as Community Health Representative.