Indigenous doctor awarded

Recently appointed Senior Medical Director Shaquita L. Bell, MD, has been awarded the 2022 Physician of the Year by the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP).

For the past 16 years, Dr. Bell has been working at Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC), where this year she was promoted to Senior Medical Director. Over the years she has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to the health of indigenous and multi-racial children.

The OBCC provides medical, dental, and behavioral health care, alongside other services to people from their infancy to adolescence. These are offered regardless of whether or not their family can pay, with an estimated 40,000 patients a year and arriving families speaking a mix of 30 different languages, 1 in 10 being immigrant families.

“I feel very honored to receive this recognition, especially so early in my career,” Dr. Bell said. “Caring for children and their families is incredibly rewarding work that I’m deeply proud to be a part of everyday at OBCC.”

Dr. Bell has been working with Seattle Children’s Clinic since 2006 after graduating from University of Minnesota with her medical degree. She completed her residency in 2009, became chief resident and acting attendant in 2010, and finally joined Seattle Children’s as faculty and provider in 2011.

While in medical school, she served as National Membership Chair of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), a program that supports both current and future underrepresented students of color in the medical field, seeking to meet needs through outreach programs.

As a resident, Dr. Bell was also Chair of the Resident Diversity Committee (DCOM) in the University of Washington’s Internal Pediatric Residency Program. This program is student-run and seeks to create opportunities and openings for future diverse students.

The AAIP has been in operation for more than 50 years, seeking to ensure and improve the health of American Indians and Alaskan Natives, promote education in medicine, honor traditional healing principles, and restore the balance of mind, body, and spirit.

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To reach this goal, they offer educational programs and services to encourage American Indian and Alaska Native medical students to pursue careers in health professions.

The award was granted to Dr. Bell at one such event, their 50th Annual Meeting and National Health Conference where healthcare professionals, community tribal members, and policy makers gather to discuss crucial American Indian/Alaskan Native medical concerns from across the nation.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Dr. Bell’s mother is Cherokee and her father is African-American. 

During her work with the OBCC, they have recognized her efforts with numerous awards, scholarships, and honors. As she takes on the Senior Director role, she will be joined by Dr. Kenisha Campbell, who will take on the role of the OBCC’s medical director.

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