Ohiyesa Premedical Program

Founded: 2020
Faculty Leads: Valerie Dobiesz, MD, MPH
Status: Active Program
Regions of Focus: Tsehootsooi Medical Center in the Navajo Nation Fort Defiance Arizona, Gallup Indian Medical Center New Mexico, Cheyenne River Health Center South Dakota


In 1887, a Mdewakanton Dakota man by the name of Ohiyesa, also known as Dr. Charles A. Eastman, embarked on a challenging journey from his remote village to study medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. In his biography, he wrote of his acceptance to medical school: “A high ideal of duty was placed before me, and I was doubly armed in my original purpose to make my education of service to my race.”

Upon his graduation in 1890, he became the first Native American man in the U.S. to become a physician. He went on to practice medicine at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, and to advocate for more just Native American health policies at the federal level. In 2019, one of Ohiyesa’s great, great, grandchildren enrolled at Harvard Medical School and became the first enrolled male member of his Tribe to attend medical school. This program is designed in the spirit of Ohiyesa and his trailblazing contributions to the Boston medical community and Native American health.

The program is funded through a private donation and administered through the Front-Line Indigenous Partnership Program based at the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Global Health and Population.

For more information, application process, program details, etc. please visit: https://www.the-flip.org/opp