Success Story: Pamela Daychild

Pamela DaychildWhy did you choose your specific health professional career?

I choose the area of pediatrics due to my interest in the health care needs of children. During my youth, I recall not seeing many Native Americans in the health field, especially as physicians.

What experiences did you have to make sure this profession was right for you?

During high school, I was involved with my youth group at church which allowed me to work directly with the youth in my community. In college, I volunteered at the University Medical Center in the pediatric ward. The clinical rotations during medical school were also an excellent opportunity to experience each medical area, allowing me to choose one where I felt most comfortable.

Describe any obstacles or barriers to success that you encountered along your health professional career path. How did you overcome them?

I am the first person in my immediate family to choose a health career, and I probably did not make the right choices initially in my preparation for a rigorous course of study. I encountered difficulty with standardized tests and had to learn different methods of preparation for entrance and board examinations. The family support I received, and constantly being reminded of my goals, helped me to overcome many of these obstacles.

What do you do in your current job?

I currently work at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in the pediatric department. I divide my time between the outpatient clinic and the newborn nursery. I see well and sick children, both of which require quick judgment in their care.

What advice do you have for American Indian/Alaska Native students who are interested in health careers?

Take the opportunity to explore your area of interest and obtain information on the educational path for that career. Ask questions and learn as much as you can from those who are already in the health field. Give yourself the opportunity to interact with people by volunteering.

What would you like to see for your tribe’s future?

I would like to see more individuals from my tribe, the Hualapai tribe, to seek a career in the medical field. I am the first female physician from my tribe, and would like to see more follow the same path.

Do you practice traditional medicine? If you do, then how does traditional medicine interact with conventional medicine?