R. Cruz Begay  

Assistant Professor,

Department Health Sciences

Northern Arizona University

R. Cruz Begay

R. Cruz Begay is an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona.  She received masters and doctoral degrees in Public health from the University of California, Berkeley.  Before coming to NAU, she worked for the Indian Health Service in rural communities on the Navajo Reservation, the Navajo Tribe, and the Northern Arizona Area Health Education Center.   Dr. Begay has taught courses in contemporary issues in rural health, sociocultural and behavioral aspects of public health, and health disparities.  She is the principal investigator for a project developing work-based learning for Tribal and Indian Health Services health employees in Arizona. 


Department of Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
Box 15095
Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, AZ 86011
Phone: 928-523-6344, FAX: 928-523-0148
E-mail: cruz.begay@nau.edu
Tribal affiliation: Tohono O’odham Nation Sells Agency, Arizona

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) May 1985 Behavioral Science.
University of California, Berkeley
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) June 1977 Behavioral Science   
University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Arts, March 1975, Linguistics.  California State University, Hayward

Professional Experience
Current position:  Assistant professor
Teaching courses in three formats:  computer-based and Internet delivered, interactive TV, and residential classroom.  Class titles:  Rural health, Socio-cultural and behavioral aspects of health, Health promotion practicum, Health disparities
Experience in designing and implementing new courses for internet delivery   
Minority Faculty Fellow 2002-2005.
Tenure track assistant professor appointment: August 2005

Past positions:
Director of training and outreach for North Country Community Health Center and the Northern Arizona Area Health Education Center
September 1998-August 2002, Box 3630 Flagstaff, AZ. 86003
Administration, supervision, and community health program development for non-profit community health center, included administration of the Northern Arizona AHEC (Arizona Area Health Education Center program). Developed grant funded programs in women’s health, cancer screening, diabetes, prenatal education, and other preventative health services as well as continuing education for health professionals, health careers and interprofessional education.
Contact: Ann Roggenbuck, MBA, PhD, 928-774-6687

Research associate ethnographer
March 1993 to January 1997, Utah State University, Early Intervention Research Institute
Ethnographic research about Navajo families living on the Navajo reservation in collaboration with the socio-behavioral workgroup on family support systems from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Additional project was writing a proposal for and conducting an evaluation of a Navajo Community Health Nursing project on prenatal home visiting. 
Contact:  Richard Roberts, PhD, Utah State University, Logan Utah, 84322-6580 (801) 797-3346

Health promotion/disease prevention coordinator
July 1987 to March 1993, Kayenta Health Center, Navajo Area Indian Health Service
Planning, developing, and evaluating health promotion/disease prevention services in the Northwestern Navajo Reservation.  Coordinating a wide range of activities and services within the Indian Health Service based on Healthy People 2000 objectives; proposal writing and program development in diabetes, prenatal care, abusive behavior, injury control, alcohol abuse, physical fitness and other areas. Working with Tribal, State, and other community agencies in Navajo reservation communities.  Contact: Linda White, CEO, Kayenta, AZ  also Ron Tso

Behavioral health department director
December 1985-June 1987 Behavioral Health Department, Division of Health Improvement Services, Navajo Nation, P.O. Box 1390, Window Rock, Arizona  86515
Administration and Management for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Mental Health and Domestic violence programs for the Navajo Nation, including: supervision of six key staff and approximately one hundred and forty staff indirectly; meeting compliance, reporting, and proposal writing requirements for ten different contracts from six different funding sources; continuing development of these programs to meet the needs of the Navajo people; supervision and monitoring for fourteen programs of the Navajo Nation and four subcontracted programs to private organizations for services.

Other part time experiences while student or working
Assistant Producer
March 1998 to September 1998, KNAU radio station, Northern Arizona University
Box 5764, Flagstaff, Ariz. 86011-5764

Teaching Assistant 1980, Research Assistant, 1981
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
Assistance with curriculum for the Native American Mental Health class and teaching seminar sessions of class.  Assisted compiling of guest lectures for class text.  Worked as research assistant with Social Research Group of UCB on alcohol use survey research.

Research Coordinator and writer, 1978, Santa Barbara Urban Indian Health Project
117 Milpas Street, Santa Barbara, California
This project gathered information about local herbs and plants used for medicinal purposes. It included research and writing handouts about local medicinal herbs and plants.

Congressional Intern for American Indian Policy Review Commission, A Joint House‑Senate Congressional Committee 1976. Review of government policy related to American Indians House Office Building Annex #2, Washington D.C. 20515.   Research, writing, editing, compiling of data from American Indian Tribes throughout the U.S.A.

Indian Health Service Fellowship:  1991-1992    Fellowship on Injury Prevention for employees of the Indian Health Service.  Included Graduate summer session in Epidemiology at University of Michigan, Epidemiology and Computer applications.

Selected Community Service and Awards:

  • Tohdenneshai Committee Against Family Abuse. Founding executive committee member nonprofit working board for the planning, operating and maintaining funding for shelter for abused women and their children in Kayenta, Arizona.  1986-1996
  • Center for Child Care Occupational Parenting Education, program for teenage parents and parenting education at Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Board Chair, 1991.
  • Navajo Family Planning.  Window Rock, Arizona.  Board member 1986 to 1988.  Executive Committee
  • Awarded grant for graduate study by National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse 1975‑77.
  • 1986 Award for Devoted and Invaluable Service to the Navajo Nation Division of Health,
  • Awards for Outstanding Service in the Indian Health Service, Navajo Area in years 1988, 1989, and 1991.
  • Woman of the Year Award given two times by the TDK Sorority of local teachers and educators, for Service to Kayenta Community in years 1989 and 1990.
  • Service award, Navajo Nation, May 1992. Outstanding Contribution on Behalf of the Todenasshai Shelter Home
  • Navajo Nation AIDS Network Service Award 1991
  • First Place. AZ Associated Press Broadcasting Association. “Forced out: Welfare Reform on the Rez” 1998.
  • Annual Bridges Award, for contributions to create bridges between allopathic and alternative medicine 2000, Association for Wholistic Arts and Resource Education, Flagstaff, AZ
  • Award for service, Pathways into Health, 2006.
  • Pathways into Health, Public Health and work-based learning committee, 2006-present
  • Governing Board of Pathways into Health 2007-present
  • Arizona Women’s Cancer Network 1999-2000
  • HIV Care Planning Alliance 2000
  • Healthy Family Conference Planning Committee 2000-2004
  • Literacy Volunteers of Coconino County, Board member 1998-2001,
  • Northern Arizona Book Festival Board, a non-profit organization, President, 2000-2004
  • Arizona Rural Health Association, Board member, chair of Northern Caucus, 2000-2002
  • Native Americans for Community Action, Board member 2002- present
  • American Public Health Association, MCH section, Native American Caucus 2002- present, abstract reviewer for Maternal and Child Health Abstracts for 2005, 2006, 2007.
  • Rocky Mountain Public Health Education Consortium for Maternal and Child Health, 2005- present
  • Cancer Culture and Literacy Fellowship, University of South Florida, 2005
  • Coconino County Health Department Maternal and Child Health Advisory Board 2002-present
  • Native Movement, non-profit grassroots advocacy and programs http://www.nativemovement.org/, Executive board, 2006-present
  • Arizona Area Health Education Centers Program, Advisory Commission member appointed by Arizona Board of Regents for 2007-2009.

Selected Publications and presentations

Begay, R. C. ; Goodluck, C; Coe, K; Brown, S.; Martin, L. (2007) Hopi Traditionalism and Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening, Journal of Native Aging & Health, November-December 2007
Vol. 2, 2

Begay, R. C. (2007) Frontier models of leadership: case studies.  In press:  Health and human services Administration, maternal and child health continuing education website.

Begay, R.C. (2005) Changes in Childbirth Knowledge, American Indian Quarterly 28.3&4 550-565

Begay, R.C. (Mar 2003) Letters: science and spirituality, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 93, 3

Begay, R.C. (2000).  Flagstaff.  In Friederici, P., J. Doggett, et al. (Ed) The view from here:  contemporary essays by Flagstaff authors. Flagstaff, Ariz., Red Lake Books,

Begay, R. C., Matheson, C., Weisner, T. S., & Roberts, R. N. (2000) Indigenous and informal systems of support: Navajo families who have children with disabilities.  In C. S. Bos & T. V. Fletcher (Eds.), Helping Individuals with disabilities and their families:   Mexican and U.S. perspectives (pp. 79-94).    Arizona State University:  Bilingual Press, Hispanic Research Center.

Begay, R.C, (2002) Focusing on healthy families, in Barbara Clarihew (Ed) Arizona Health Education Centers program progress report 2000-2001, University of Arizona Health Science Center.

Carpien, C.; Begay, C., (1998) Forced Out: Welfare Reform on the Rez, ten-part radio series produced through KNAU, a National Public Radio affiliate. Nationwide distribution on NPR; Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, won a first place award from the Associated Press.

Begay, R C,(1991) Health and Harmony column in theGallup Independent, a daily newspaper for the Indian Health Service Health on disease prevention issues.

Begay, R. W. (1985) Navajo Childbirth, doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley,  

Begay, R. C. and Goodluck, C. (2008) Hopi perceptions of traditionalism and cancer, paper presented at the Fourth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, May 14-17 2008

Begay, C. (2008) Growing our own: work-based learning for Native health employees, workshop at 2008 Lily Artic Institute on innovation and excellence in teaching:  celebrating adult learning and cultural attunement, March 5, 2008, Fairbanks, Alaska
Brown, S, Harris, R, Goodluck, C, Begay, C, Nuno, T, (November 2007) Hopi women’s health survey 2006-2007, final Report to Hopi women’sbreast and cervical cancer prevention program,

Begay, R. C, Bounds, R., (July 2007) Accredited work-based learning: education for rural health employees, peer reviewed invited workshop at regional conference, Arizona Rural Health Association annual conference,

Begay, R.C, Bounds R, Veazie, M., (May 2007) Accredited Work-Based Learning:  innovative approaches for rural health employees, peer-reviewed poster for National conference, American Rural Health Association, Anchorage, Alaska.

Veazie, M., Begay R. C., Bounds, R., and (September 2007) Work-Based Learning: Unclogging the Pipeline to Health Careers, 2nd Pathways into Health Conference, Chicago, IL,

Begay, R.C., Veazie, M, (September 2006) Activating the Pipeline: New Horizons in Accredited Work-based Learning, invited symposium at national Pathways into Health professional development conference in Denver, Co.,

Begay, R. C., Ami, D, Martin, L. (2006) Women's health partnerships and models of MCH leadership, Rocky Mountain Public Health Consortium invited workshop at Summer Institute, Tucson Arizona,

Begay, R. C. (November 2006) Hopi Tradition and Cancer, paper presented American Public Health Association, Boston, Massachusetts

Begay, R. C. (2006) Delivery of Health Care to Minority Populations: Challenges June 16, 2006 International Summer Institute in Nursing, NAU. 

Begay, R.C. (2005) American Indian Birthing,  paper accepted for American Public Health Association,  (Originally scheduled for New Orleans but rescheduled due to Hurricane Katrina; I was unable to attend.)

Begay, R.C. (2005) Indigenous support for childbirth, invited paper at the 7th World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education.  Hamilton, New Zealand

Begay, R.C. (2003) American Indian childbirth, poster presentation, American Public Health Association November, San Francisco, CA 

Begay, R.C. (2003) Effective Methods of Training and Development of the Public Health Workforce, Roundtable, American Public Health Association, San Francisco, CA 

Begay, R.C., Nez, R, Baldwin, J. (2003) Challenges encountered ending a diabetes prevention project: lessons leaned from process evaluation symposium conducted at the Arizona Evaluation Net Spring Conference

Begay, R.C., (2003) Community health work experiences, presentation at Health Careers Opportunity Program summer program

Begay, R.C., (2003) Challenges working with American Indian students, Roundtable, Northern Arizona University

Begay, R.C., Nez, R, Baldwin, J., (2002) Diabetes Prevention in Rural Arizona, invited poster for Arizona Rural Health Association annual conference,

Begay, R. C., Roberts, R. N., Weisner, T. S., Matheson, C. (1996). Indigenous and informal systems of support for Navajo families who have children with disabilities. Invited address presented at the U.S. – Mexico Symposium on Disabilities.  (Blending the Mexican and Native American Cultures Through Collaboration Between the U. S. and Mexico for Individuals with Disabilities and their Families), Tucson, AZ.

Proposals written and funded while at NAU

Planning grant for Applied Research on Cancer  with Hopi Health Services
Planning grant through NAU/U of A Cancer Center U54 grant, National Cancer Institute
Awarded $50,000.  Principal Investigator.
Project completed fall of 2005

Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening among Women on the Hopi Reservation
Pilot grant through NAU/U of A Cancer Center U54 grant, NCI/NIH
June 2005, $200,000 for two years.  Completed in June of 2007

Diabetes Education and Prevention project on the Navajo Nation (Service grant.)
2004-2006, John and Sophie Ottens Foundation 
Awarded $90,000 initially
$200,000 for 2005-2006. 

Learning Circles for Health Technicians
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Building Human Capital Initiative.  Development and implementation of a model for accredited work-based learning in collaboration with the Indian Health Service and Navajo Tribe.  Principal Investigator  
$436,000 for 3 years

Fostering MCH leadership through distance education
Subcontract from University of Alaska, Anchorage from the US Bureau of Maternal and Child Health Grant:  Frontier Models of Leadership: Learning from Communities
$6000 in 2005, $10,000 in 2006 and 2007
American Indian students with children, Intramural funding for faculty
Principal Investigator
Submitted December 2005, $10,000. Funded July 2006- June 2007

Addressing the Needs of All Learners, E-learning Center of NAU
With William Huffman and Ann Huffman
$12,000 2006-2007

Selected proposals for grants and contracts written and funded 2000-2002 (while at North Country Community Health Center/Northern Arizona Health Education Center)

Weed and Seed
Federal designation and funding from the US District Attorney’s office to improve the Sunnyside district in Flagstaff, Arizona by improving police relations and providing community clean up, building renovations and community development infrastructure.  Since its inception, the community has received 2.5 million dollars.  I was given public award and recognition by the county supervisors for writing the proposal to become federally designated.

Northern ArizonaHealthEducationCenter (NAHEC)
Proposals for contracts with the federal and state governments increased annual funding for the NAHEC from $50,000 to over $1,000,000 in 3years, increased staffing for the center from 2 to12 people with outside funding.

Well Woman Healthcheck Program   
National Center for Disease Control (CDC) funds are administered by the state of Arizona through the Well Woman Healthcheck Program to be contracted for breast and cervical cancer screening in Arizona.  The Arizona state health department invited the Coconino county health department to complete requirements and the proposal for the program.  My role included subcontracting of the county needs assessment and coalition building portions of the contract, and then writing the proposal and contracting directly for the entire program when the county health department chose not to write the proposal.

Susan B. Koman Foundation,
Avon Foundation,
Riddle foundation
Proposals to several national private foundations provided approximately $200,000 in grants for outreach and case management to expand breast and cervical cancer screening programs in rural areas of northern Arizona.

Health Start
Contract with State of Arizona, $200,000funding for lay health worker prenatal home visiting services for pregnant women in Coconino and Navajo counties 

United Way of CoconinoCounty
 and FlagstaffMedicalCenter Foundation
Proposals to local foundations provided $40,000funding for diabetes education as well as supplemental costs for medication assistance to low income underserved persons in Coconino County through North Country Community Health Center.

Federal Fund for Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE)
Subcontract to NAHEC to develop curriculum and program to train lay health workers, providing lay health workers with academic credit through four community colleges in Arizona. 

Pre 2000:  Selected externally funded community health grant projects (grant proposals written)
Navajo reservation wide conference on domestic violence, development of protocols for the prevention of domestic violence on the Navajo reservation, development of a program for reducing DUI recidivism with the Navajo Nation police Department, production of a film about the human consequences of drunk driving, elder abuse prevention survey, diabetes amputation prevention (providing shoes and socks and developing a diabetes registry), operation of a domestic violence shelter, implementation of a childcare center for adolescent parents at public high school, increasing of prenatal visits through outreach, and the development of a teen center.