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Tara L. Stiller [Alaska]

Tara Stiller

Tara Stiller

Degree sought:  Masters in Public Health / University of Alaska Anchorage
Hometown:  Old Harbor, Alaska

What drew your interest to the CHL training program?
The CHL training program will allow me to pursue higher education in the field of Public Health to support my passion—to decrease and/or eliminate health disparities among my fellow Alaska Native people.  It will support my efforts to develop culturally appropriate and effective health interventions to decrease childhood obesity among Alaska Native children.  This will ensure healthy Alaska Native families for generations to come.

What are your long-term goals?
I plan to continue working in Alaska at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to support our vision that, “Alaska Natives are the Healthiest People in the World.”  I will continue working in the program: Store Outside Your Door–a community driven program seeking to address food security and its connection to chronic diseases such as: diabetes and obesity.  It is a program that helps links traditional foods with reinforcing the wisdom in our many cultures and languages.  I hope to see this program gain traction to not only see a positive health impact on Alaska Natives, but a cultural revival of our traditional way of living.

After completing your studies, how do you hope to impact your home community?
I will continue studying the rest of my life—there is always more to learn.  As for after completion of my current studies, I hope that my home community of Old Harbor, Alaska (Kodiak Island) will have a greater awareness and knowledge of how to make healthier food choices for their children to prevent childhood obesity.  Since the time of historic Western contact there was a major transition of food choice that has had a generational negative health impact on our Alaska Native Peoples—it is my hope that we revive and/or continue teaching our children our traditional food diet as well as healthy non-traditional food choices to decrease childhood obesity.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I have two main hobbies—their names are Ethan and Ashlyn, my children.  They are my driving force to continue what I’m doing to ensure a healthier future for them and all Alaska Native Children.  They did not have the amazing experience of growing up in a rural village as I did, learning how to live off the land by doing it, and living in an environment that promoted physical activity and healthy traditional foods.  We will have to revive our traditional and cultural way of life to ensure the health of our future generations.

Other general hobbies that I enjoy include: Running (in the summer-when its warm enough), Native crafts in general, cooking, hiking, photography, design, cake decorating, and harvesting traditional foods.