NAJA hosts “Leading the Way: Indian Country and COVID-19 Vaccinations” virtual roundtable Sept. 9

Webinar will be the first in a three-part series focused on covering health equity in Indian Country, supported by the Commonwealth Fund. 

The Native American Journalists Association recognizes that media professionals are confronted with unique challenges when covering issues affecting Indigenous people and communities. The NAJA Roundtable series aims to examine the challenges and best practices for reporting these stories. This roundtable is the first in a three-part series focused on health equity in Indian Country, supported by the Commonwealth Fund.  

Indigenous nations across the United States have mounted very effective vaccination campaigns through the first months of the vaccination rollout. In fact, recent CDC data highlights that Native American communities are leading the way in vaccination rates across the U.S.  

This webinar will discuss successes and challenges of vaccination programs and share data from the American COVID-19 Vaccine Poll, a national survey focused on overcoming obstacles to full and equitable vaccination coverage. 

Adrianne Maddux, Executive Director of Denver Indian Health and Family Services, will discuss efforts to increase vaccination rates in Indigenous communities.

Other presenters will share research focused on pathways to overcome remaining vaccine hesitancy in Native communities to ensure further rates of vaccination. This research will highlight roots of lingering vaccine hesitancy and test effective messages and messengers to move toward greater vaccination rates for Indigenous populations in the U.S. This research was conducted by the African American Research Collaborative and the Commonwealth Fund,  with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to intentionally oversample Native Americans. 


  • Moderator: Jourdan Bennett-Begaye (Díne), Managing Editor, Indian Country Today
  • Raymond Foxworth (Navajo), First Nations Development Institute
  • Adrianne Maddux (Hopi Tribe of Shungapavi), Denver Indian Health and Family Services
  • Gabe Sanchez, Co-Founder of the UNM Native American Budget and Policy Institute

NAJA will host the roundtable and live Q&A at 3 pm CT on Thursday, Sept. 9, via Zoom. Participants may register in advance here. After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email with information about how to join the webinar.

The recording will also be available on the NAJA website, YouTube channel and on the First Nations Development Institute website

NAJA continues to develop free live and on-demand content focused on the challenges and best practices for reporting on Indigenous people, communities and issues. Members may pitch future webinar suggestions through the roundtable proposal form at any time.  

The roundtable series is supported by the following sponsors:

  • Craig Newmark Philanthropies
  • Democracy Fund
  • Ford Foundation
  • Gannett Foundation
  • Google News Initiative
  • Knight Foundation
  • Oklahoma Media Center
  • TEGNA Foundation
  • The Commonwealth Fund
  • The Society of Professional Journalists Foundation
  • Walton Family Foundation

About NAJA
The Native American Journalists Association serves more than 900 members, including media professionals working in tribal, freelance, independent and mainstream news outlets, as well as academia and students covering Indigenous communities and representing tribal nations from across North America.

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