Community Health Education and Resiliency Program







We deeply mourn and grieve the loss of Nex Benedict (Choctaw), a 16-year-old non-binary individual whose life was cut short by violence.

Nex's passing is a heartbreaking reminder of the dangers faced by Native Two Spirit, Queer, Trans, and gender-diverse youth. In the face of such loss, our community's strength and commitment to kindness and empathy shine as beacons of hope for Indigenous lives.

Nex's memory impels us to stand firm for the rights and safety of LGBTQ2S+ youth, whose struggles are too often overlooked. They deserve to live without fear, embraced by dignity and security. As we extend our heartfelt condolences to Nex's family, we reaffirm our duty to protect our vulnerable youth from bullying, harassment, and interpersonal and systemic oppression.

In solidarity, we must challenge damaging policies and promote transformative support for our young people, ensuring their right to happiness and safety for generations to come. It is our collective responsibility to nurture an environment of compassion and affirmation for their dreams and voices.

In honoring Nex, our advocacy will prioritize the health and well-being of queer and gender-diverse youth, at the core of our community efforts. Let's care for ourselves and each other, and always seek help when needed.

2024 Hope in Healing Native Opioid Summit

The 2024 Hope in Healing Native Opioid Summit is the Community Health Education and Resiliency Program's second in-person opioid summit. This year's summit is a three-day summit held in downtown Albuquerque at the Clyde Hotel, March 12-14, 2024. The summit agenda brings together a collection of clinical, holistic, sustainable, and educational opioid-related presentations.

For the clinical aspect of the summit, we have Physician Sara Spencer from the Ninilchik Community Clinic presenting "Utilizing Low-threshold XR Buprenorphine to Address Stimulant-Fentanyl Overdose Risk in Rural and Indigenous Populations."

With many Tribe’s receiving Opioid Litigation Settlement Funding, we will have Andrea Medley, MPH, a research associate from John Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health, offering the session "Indigenizing Opioid Litigation Settlements and the Co-creating Tribal Principles."

When we talk about holistic and sustainable wellness, this includes the care of the professionals. We are ending this year's summit with the session "Thriving Together: Burnout Signs, Support, and Sustainable Balance" by Monique Castro, Indigenous Circle of Wellness. 

These are just a few of the transformative and engaging presentations that the summit will feature.

CHERP looks forward to seeing you at the Hope in Healing Native Opioid Summit. Let’s make a positive impact on the opioid epidemic and focus on strength-based practices.

2024 LGBT Health Awareness Week

March 18-22, 2024, is the 22nd National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week. We recognize our Native relatives who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or Two-Spirit who face significant barriers to accessing healthcare much like the mainstream LGBTQ+ community. While discrimination, stigma, and healthcare-denying policies are common challenges, the Native LGBT+ and Two-Spirit community contends with additional social and political determinants of health rooted in our Native history and culture.

Dr. Maria Yellow Brave Heart defines historical trauma as a “collective emotional and psychological injury both over the lifespan and across generations, resulting from a cataclysmic history of genocide.” That historical trauma caused a shift in Native cultural perspectives on non-binary gender identities once widely accepted in Native communities. For Native LGBT+ and Two-Spirit people, many respond to this trauma with resilience and strength. However, many also carry feelings of shame, survivor guilt, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, sadness, suicidal and self-destructive behavior, and despair.

Having a strong and positive cultural identity, family support, and community acceptance help lessen the effects of historical trauma and promote good health and wellbeing for many Native LGBT+ and Two-Spirit people. These cultural protective factors align with the teachings of our Native healers, who reassure us that cultural practices serve as the most important “medicine” for promoting health and resiliency.

Here are a few strategies to promote Native LGBT+ and Two-Spirit wellness:

  • Learn about Native LGBT+ and Two Spirit terms and concepts to avoid making assumptions about what those identities might mean to an individual patient.
  • Realize the role of historical trauma and settler colonialism on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health of AI/AN people.
  • Appreciate patients as a whole person and not just a single identity.
  • Ask all patients for their pronouns and name to be used by staff. Avoid making assumptions about a person’s identity based on their physical appearance.

Click here to request a training on Native Gender and Sexuality.

Spring-Ahead Toward Self-Care

As the days are getting longer and brighter, some of us are looking forward to the sunshine and warmer days while others are dreading the heat that lies ahead. Regardless of how you feel about the current change in seasons, there is one common experience that we will all share: adjusting to the time change.

As we turn our clocks ahead on March 10th, we might enjoy later sunsets and ending our workdays “earlier,” however this does come with some consequences. Studies show that people struggle with adjusting to the time change in various ways, as is evidenced by an increase in incidents such as car accidents. The time change can particularly affect young people as they are still expected to keep the same school schedules while their bodies are growing (even though research shows that teenagers fare better when school starts later in the day).

With all this in mind, there are some actions we can take to help us navigate the time change more gracefully and with care for ourselves and our communities. Below are some ideas to consider as we gear up to change our clocks.

  • Adjust your sleep schedule gradually. In the days or weeks leading up to the time change, try going to bed and waking up just a little bit earlier at a time, until you have adjusted to the full hour change.
  • Focus on your wind down and bedtime routine. To help you adjust to an earlier bedtime, try strategies like focusing on calming activities in the evening, limiting screen time in the hours before bedtime, and creating a calming environment in your bedroom with dim lighting and relaxing music.
  • Soak up some natural light in the morning. Getting some sunlight in the morning helps us wake up by “telling” our brains that it’s morning time.
  • Have patience and grace with yourself and others (especially young ones). Prioritize your self-care to help “recharge your batteries” so that you can be patient with yourself and others as we all navigate adjusting to the time change. Remember that most of us will not be able to show up as our best selves until we have had some time to adjust. 

2024 National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The 2024 National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD) takes place on March 20, 2024. This year's theme "It's All Relative, Our Experience Makes a Difference" acknowledges the invaluable contribution of Native communities in ending the HIV epidemic, underscoring the significance of Native visibility in national HIV strategies and funding opportunities.

NNHAAD was created in 2007 as a national mobilization initiative aimed at encouraging American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians throughout the United States and Territorial Areas to become educated, get tested, engage in prevention, and seek treatment for HIV. In 2019, the National Native HIV Network took the lead in coordinating NNHAAD activities nationally.

As NNHAAD 2024 quickly approaches, tribes, Native-serving organizations, and other entities can participate by:


Ending the HIV Epidemic Training Series for American Indian/Alaska Native HIV Service Providers

May 6-10, 2024

Denver, CO

The Community Health Education and Resiliency Program, in partnership with the National HIV Classroom Learning Center, is hosting this five-day in-person training series in Denver, Colorado.

The training courses are for direct service providers who are interested in building their capacity around motivational interviewing, cultural humility, HIV navigation services, and prevention services for Native women.

The training courses being offered include:

  • Implementing Cultural Competency and Cultural Humility in the HIV Workforce - May 6-7, 2024
  • Fundamentals of Motivational Interviewing for HIV - May 6-7, 2024
  • HIV Navigation Services Steps-to-Care - May 8-10, 2024
  • Sister to Sister for AI/AN Women - May 8-9, 2024

Limited travel support is available for registered participants.

For more information, contact Kurt Begaye at (505) 270-6374 or via email

HIV Testing in Nonclinical Settings

May 29-30, 2024

Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown Hotel

Albuquerque, NM

The Community Health Education and Resiliency Program, in partnership with the National HIV Classroom Learning Center, is hosting this two day in-person training in the Albuquerque Uptown area.

HIV Testing in Nonclinical Settings is CDC's latest HIV testing training for nonclinical settings. This training reflects scientific advances and evidence-informed updates as expressed in CDC's guidance: Implementing HIV Testing in Nonclinical Settings: A Guide for HIV Testing Providers (2016). Key influences on this curriculum have been shifts in HIV prevention, care, and treatment that have occurred since the Fundamentals of HIV Prevention Counseling training, and the policies that followed.

Who Should Attend

This course is intended for people who wish to learn about HIV testing or who plan to provide HIV testing in nonclinical settings. Community Health Workers, Health Educators, Prevention Specialists, and Health Technicians are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact Kurt Begaye at (505) 270-6374 or via email

Online Supply Orders

The Community Health Education and Resiliency Program provides safer sex supplies (condoms, dental dams, lube), HIV Self-Test Kits, Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches to individuals and organizations in the IHS Albuquerque Area. Please use the links below to order your supplies.


Safer Sex Supplies and HIV Self-Test Kits:

Narcan, Fentanyl Test Strips, and Deterra Pouches:

For more information about online orders, contact Kurt at


NM Community Planning and Action Group Meetings - Next meeting will take place on March 8, 2024.

To join the NM CPAG list serve, email John Murphy at


National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 10, 2024

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - March 20, 2024

LGBT Health Awareness Week - March 18-22, 2024

Transgender Day of Visibility - March 31, 2024

If you have events you want to include in our monthly newsletter, please send them to Kurt at

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