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Jan 3, 2013 12:38 PM by Joe Bevans

Doctors to merge tribal and modern medicine

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The nation's largest rural, nonprofit hospital system is hiring two traditional Native American healers to train medical staff in the Dakotas and Minnesota in an effort to better serve American Indian patients. Sanford Health is in the process of hiring a Lakota/Dakota and an Ojibwe to serve as consultants as part of a three-year $12 million Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services award, according to Sanford Vice President Read Sulik. Sulik, who is based in Fargo, said the traditional healers will act as advisers to health care workers on American Indian culture, and will consult with medical staff on when it may be appropriate to use traditional healing techniques in conjunction with modern medicine. He says the two healers won't necessarily be performing traditional healing ceremonies, but advising clinics in the three states on when a ceremony may be necessary and how to use local resources to make it happen.

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