Black Hills Center for American Indian Health


Dr. Nez Henderson

Patricia Nez Henderson, MD, MPH is the Vice President for the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health (BHCAIH). Dr. Nez Henderson is a member of the Dine’ (Navajo) tribe. Dr. Nez Henderson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Arizona and earned her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degrees from Yale University. Under the auspices of the BHCAIH, Dr. Nez Henderson has become one of the leading authorities on tobacco control in American Indian communities.

Dr. Nez Henderson’s work in tobacco control has primarily focused on incorporating tribal values and customs (e.g. living in harmony as it pertains to smoke-free environment and the use of ceremonial tobacco) with western knowledge (e.g. evidence-based protocols, technology and science).

Her work has led to the Navajo Nation passing commercial tobacco-free policies for government workplaces and ceremonial settings, and increasing excise taxes on tobacco products.

In addition, Dr. Nez Henderson has developed, implemented and evaluated American Indian culturally relevant research projects, including web-based tobacco interventions for Native youth;  smoking cessation strategies for AIAN adults, a randomized, in-home smoking policy intervention, an in-home asthma/smoking intervention, social network-based tobacco intervention on Navajo Nation and the examination of tribally manufactured tobacco products and their marketing and sales on and off reservations.

Dr. Nez Henderson has as a panel member of both the 2008 update of the Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guideline “Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence,” and the Federal Drug Administration Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, Dr. Nez Henderson helped produce two landmark publications, including the Committee’s important recommendation on menthol cigarettes.

For more information on Dr. Nez Henderson or to collaborate with her on future projects, please contact her Project Coordinator, Priscilla Nez at 605-348-6100.