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From Turtle Mountain to Clinical Research

Posted on March 19, 2007

Questions about clinical work in tribal communities led Teresa D. LaFromboise (bio) to a career in research.

 

I began as a classroom teacher on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. I taught seventh and eighth grade in language arts and then also was a Johnson O’Malley teacher, basically started an alternative school and a high school with Native American students with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

And there the students had about an 80 percent-dropout rate. So I spent a lot of time with counselors and I decided that when I went on for the Ph.D. that I wanted to do clinical work. And so then when I was in doctoral training it seemed the question, always, having lived on a couple of reservations and having that interest would often be, is doing therapy different or what would be different in working with Native Americans?

So then of course that leads to research questions, right? So I just, when I began doing research, I just really loved it, and thought that I wanted an academic career then, because I wanted an opportunity to try to add to the knowledge base because it didn't seem that there was very much there in terms of counseling psychology or clinical process of Native Americans.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in March 2006.

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