Meet Rick Haverkate
Rick Haverkate joined the Office of Minority Health in April as senior project analyst. Here Rick shares his vision for the program and outreach work he will lead at OMHRC.
Q: Please share a little about your background.
RH: I grew up in a very small town called Munising which is on the southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I'm an enrolled member of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and was fortunate to be raised in the same area in which my ancestors have lived since the late 1600s.
I did my undergraduate work at Northern Michigan University and earned my MPH at the University of Hawaii. I've spent the last 23 years working in a variety of public health positions, primarily for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiians and moved to Washington, DC, in February of 2010.
Q: What does your role at OMHRC entail?
RH: My work here will focus primarily on American Indian and Alaska Native issues in a wide range of public health issues. Essentially, I will be working to provide capacity building and technical assistance services to American Indian/Alaska Native organizations with specific emphasis on design, implementation and management of granting opportunities to agencies working with/for American Indian/Alaska Native organizations and tribal entities.
In addition I will work closely with the OMHRC building team to promote general information exchange through presentations and exhibitions at local and national meetings and conferences. Making the most of my previous work, I will re-establish and maintain contact with tribal organizations, academic institutions and other community based organizations that have an interest in health disparities as it relates to Native Americans/Alaska Natives and promote cooperative efforts and maintain good relations between HHS agencies. Of course there are always the "other duties as assigned" which make every job more fun!
Q: What will you focus on long-term? What are you most excited about in your new role?
RH: My long-term goals include finding ways to enable communities and individuals find and implement methods to understand their health challenges and to manage those challenges in order to live healthier lives. A few of my pet topic areas are teen pregnancy, LGBTQ health issues, men's health, patient advocacy and grants management.
What most excites me about my new job here at OMHRC is the wealth of experience all of my co-workers possess and their willingness to help change the world. I look forward to getting to know all of the wonderful folks here at OMHRC and the amazing work they all do every day.
Q: What's something your co-workers might be surprised to learn about you?
RH: I enjoy geeky stuff like history documentaries. I love to travel and have been to six of the seven continents...I hope to get to Antarctica one day soon. Most of my world-travel has been on my own, but while living in Hawaii I was a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines which truly heightened my interest in commercial air travel. I'm a complete commercial aircraft nerd and can tell you the difference between a 757-200 and 757-300 series and which seats to avoid on most airplanes.