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Success Stories 

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Successful Scholarship Student
Zack received a scholarship as an undergraduate and is now chief medical officer.
Zack was raised on the Creek Reservation and graduated from high school there. His mother was a social worker and his father was a carpenter, but the family still struggled financially, remembers Zack.
In 1991 he left the reservation to attend Montana State University. In the beginning he got by with grants, student loans, and on-campus work programs for minority students. In his senior year, Zack learned about the AIEF program and was awarded a scholarship. It filled the gap in his funding, and he has never forgotten it.

A Long Road
The road to becoming a medical doctor is a long one. Zack continued his studies at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and completed his residency at the University of Oklahoma’s Health Science Center. Finally after eight long years, he was a family practitioner.

As soon as he was qualified, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation offered Zack a job, and he gladly accepted. He was ready to go home to his family and his people in Oklahoma.

Zack continued to take classes at night to complete a master’s degree in public health administration and policy, and he became the chief medical officer for the Muscogee Nation.

When Zack began thinking about how to bring more Native professionals into his tribe’s health system, he remembered the AIEF program and reconnected with the staff. “It is good for the people to receive health care from their own people,” he says, because the patients stay longer and feel better.

Zack knows that whether it’s Native physicians helping Native patients, or Indian students supporting one another, mentoring works. Like us, he is dedicated to encouraging more Native Americans to “harness the power of knowledge.”