May 14, 2018

​Brocade Stops Black Eagle is this week’s CHEER Champion of the Week. Brocade (Crow-Mandan-Hidasta) is an RN at the Indian Health Service (IHS) Crow/Northern Cheyenne hospital on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana and Project Leader on IHS’ Healthy Mothers, Healthy Tribe initiative in that area. CHEER is the Billings Area contractor on this initiative, which is funded by an Inter-Agency Agreement between the Office on Women’s Health and IHS. Healthy Mothers, Healthy Tribe aims to improve prenatal care and drug use prevention and treatment within the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribes and the facilities that serve them.

“My goal for the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Tribe project is to improve prenatal care in the community,” says Brocade. “By providing the best health care to women, we will have a healthier future generation. They are our future.” Substance abuse is high in the area, and reducing this is one of the main focuses of the Healthy Women, Healthy Tribe project.

Brocade’s prenatal support group, held in partnership with the Secret Shawl Society, has been inspiring and well-attended. Brocade is not only a nurse but an artist, and she is teaching the women in her group how to bead and to make cradleboards and moccasins. Check out this inspiring youtube video about her beading work.

Brocade shares, “On Christmas Day 2016, I lost my mother to gynecologic cancer and then 6 months later my sister died in a car accident. After I lost my sister I slipped into a depression. I didn’t want to get out of bed. The only way I could get myself out of bed was by beading from sun up to sun down. It helped me to get through all those feelings and emotions. I hope by showing the women who are struggling with substance abuse how to bead, it will help them in the ways that it helped me.”

Brocade has jumped into her role as Healthy Mothers, Healthy Tribe Project Lead with both feet, and is taking a tremendous amount of initiative to make the project effective. Her role includes: providing project oversight; collaborating with local providers; culturally integrating the initiative with the patients; developing a designated ambulatory clinic for the project; establishing a prenatal support group; coordinating with Tribal representatives; ensuring hospital preparation for prenatal services; and hosting events to attract patients.

In the past year and a half, Brocade has hosted 3 successful prenatal clinics. First, she reaches out to various hospital departments to find a date that works for everyone. Then, she informs the community about the prenatal clinic with flyers and telephone calls. When the women arrive to the all-day clinic, staff members greet them, evaluate their needs, and create a personally tailored schedule of visits to applicable departments: behavioral health, dental, optometry, Public Health Nursing, benefits, OB, and WIC. Representatives from each of these departments are situated throughout the hospital and the OB clinic rooms, and the women travel around to meet with them. Each of these clinics has attracted many new patients, with an average of 10 women completing each clinic. In addition to achieving a healthier pregnancy, women who complete the clinic receive a free car seat.

We are very fortunate to be working with you, Brocade! Keep up the great work!