3:00 pm: Alec Calac, Public Health MD-PhD Candidate, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of California, San Diego
Data as a Relation
Indigenous Peoples have responsibly stewarded their cultures and traditions since time immemorial. Despite settler colonialism and centuries of cultural genocide, these groups have held on to their cultural traditions and are working to revitalize their knowledge systems in modern society. This has not been without difficulty, as Indigenous Peoples are more likely to experience discrimination, marginalization, and adverse health outcomes compared to the general population. Another complicating factor, largely due to technological advances in recent decades, is growing interest in the pan-Indigenous genome due to lower proportions of European genetic admixture and unique genetic variants that may inform the development of novel therapeutics and drug targets. In the United States, there is a long history of extracting data and knowledge from Indigenous Peoples, because it has some type of value to educators, researchers, or corporate interests. In his talk, Mr. Calac will share his perspective on responsible stewardship of Indigenous Peoples’ data and his current doctoral research and health policy efforts promoting Indigenous Data Sovereignty.
I am a member of the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians. I completed my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science and Molecular and Cellular Biology at The University of Arizona. There, I was the Chapter President for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. After graduating, I completed research and health policy fellowships at the National Institutes of Health and National Indian Health Board, respectively. Currently, I am an MD/PhD student at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. I helped establish the UC San Diego Program in Medicine – Transforming Indigenous Doctor Education (PRIME-TIDE), which prepares medical students to meet the healthcare needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native Tribes and Villages. I work tirelessly as the President-Elect for the Association of Native American Medical Students and Chair for the American Medical Association Medical Student Section Committee on American Indian Affairs, identifying barriers and facilitators to greater inclusion of American Indians and Alaska Natives in medicine and the allied health professions. My research interests are in medical education and workforce development, Tribal public health, vaccine hesitancy and misinformation spread, and social media utilization.