Barclays Bank & Hopkins School of Public Health Team Up For American Indian Health


It certainly brought a smile to my face to see that Johns Hopkins and the Barclays Bank are now working in partnership to develop a program with the Bloomberg School’s Center for American Indian Health. The aims of the youth entrepreneurship program can only further enhance the quality of life for American Indians, and hopefully this entails a level of engagement and opportunity that was previously unavailable.

A little over a year ago, I was invited to speak to a class in the Center for American Indian Health about social media (me below). It was delightful, and they were full of questions about web searching, finding sources, and posting information. It was clear that they wanted to be the ones who could take this knowledge back home to share.


The sheer geographical challenges (most tribes live in very rural areas) are one of the most important struggles American Indians are faced with. They want to be connected, especially with regards to employment and healthcare. A quick online glance shows that their isolation takes many forms. The issues are substantial and the digital divide plays no small part in the equation.  The Hopkins/Barclays article articulates the issues quite succinctly: “American Indians living on reservations in North America suffer the poorest health and socioeconomic and educational status of any ethnic or racial group in the United States," said Mathuram Santosham, MD, MPH, director of the Center for American Indian Health and professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. “Economic opportunity and community health are inextricably linked. The program we are launching with Barclays will go a long way toward improving both the economic and health outcomes of American Indian youth."

Though the problems facing American Indians seem quite systemic, collaborative efforts such as this will perhaps create new ground for all parties involved. As we know, the internet is the quintessential “village drum” and most of the students in my class seemed as though they wanted to become major “drum cadets,” especially for all those friends and relatives back home. Most of us grow up with the enchantment of a bright future being linked to avenues of possibility. By the creation of this program, and hopefully with more to come, let’s hope those avenues and that enchantment can now be more freely traveled and realized.    


Alonzo LaMont




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