Kiana Beaudin receives Forward Under Forty Award

By Ardith Van Riper

     Madison, Wisc. – Ho-Chunk Nation’s Kiana Beaudin received UW-Madison Alumni Association’s Forward under 40 Award for 2020 at a Madison Founders’ Day event on February 5.  The evening also included a blanketing ceremony and panel discussion. 

     Chief Alumni Engagement Officer and Executive Director Sarah Schutt welcomed everyone and explained Madison Founders’ Day and the Forward under 40 Award.  Beaudin is one of six honorees this year.

     Sarah Schutt included in her welcome that, “It’s important to us that we acknowledge that this land, historically, is the land of the Ho-Chunk people. We recognize the sovereignty of the Ho-Chunk Nation and other eleven First Nations of Wisconsin.  We know that we are very, very recent visitors and occupiers of this particular land at the university.”

     Schutt went on to reveal, “We are fortunate to have a number of friends from the Ho-Chunk Nation here with us this evening.”

     Sarah then explained Founders’ Day.  On February 5, 1849, 17 young men gathered in a small building near Capital Square to be taught by Professor John Whelan Sterling, who was the namesake of Sterling Hall.  In essence, the very first classes of the University of Wisconsin gathered on this date, and the Alumni Association hosts Founders’ Day celebrations every year to commemorate this milestone.

     “Founders’ Day exists to acknowledge the excellence of the university and the reach of the alumni.  Our alumni chapters, for them, this is a signature event of the year.  Starting today, through the end of May, we will have close to 70 events around the country and internationally that will feature UW-Madison faculty, staff, and alumni as speakers,” described Schutt.

     Details of the Forward under 40 Award followed.  Winners of the award are alumni who are outstanding examples of living the Wisconsin Idea, the idea that this public university exists to serve the public good.  Recipients of this award are required to be under the tender age of 40.  Kiana Beaudin is a recipient of this award for her exceptional work in Native American Health Care.

     Kiana Beaudin, 39, is currently the Ho-Chunk Nation Executive Director of Health.  She directs programs that serve over 7,800 tribal members and communities across 18 counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Beaudin brings nearly ten years of experience in family medicine.

     Previously, she worked at the House of Wellness Clinic as a physician assistant.  While in that position, she incorporated the Ho-Chunk language into clinic care, created cultural awareness training to ensure caregivers understand the perspective of tribal members, and created the Sjaa Kikere Standing Strong Prevention Incentive to encourage colon cancer screenings.  She made groundbreaking contributions to health care in Indian Country, Wisconsin, and the Ho-Chunk Nation.

     For several years, Kiana volunteered as a preceptor.  Preceptors host a UW-Madison physician assistant student for a rotation.  Students learn about direct patient care.  In 2019, the UW Physician Assistant program named Beaudin Outstanding Preceptor of the Year.

     Kiana Beaudin, daughter of Janice Rice and the late John Beaudin, also earned state and national recognition as a leader in providing medically assisted treatment for individuals with opioid and alcohol use disorders. 

     Beaudin’s parents are UW alumni, and she is affiliated with the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.  While in the physician assistant program at UW-Madison, she was the only Native American student in the entire UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

     Today, Kiana is a mentor and honorary fellow for the Native American Center for Health Professions.

     Danielle Yancey and members from the Native American Center for Health Professions presented Kiana with a Pendleton blanket, and Yancey said, “One of the things we do for our students when they make an important milestone like this is we honor them in a blanketing ceremony.” 

     Yancey went on to bring attention to the shirt Kiana was wearing, which read, ‘I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams’ by Eminence Apparel and explained how Kiana is a role model for students.

     “She is giving of her time and her service.  She is helping to nurture and uplift our next generation of healers who will come after her,” said Yancey.

     “On behalf of UW-Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Association, and some 450,000 UW alumni around the world, please join me in acknowledging and congratulating Kiana for this award,” declared Sarah Schutt. “We’re so thrilled to call you a Badger, Kiana.  We appreciate all of the work you have done and how you make the Wisconsin idea have such a positive impact.  Congratulations!”

     Director of the Native American Center for Health Professions Danielle Yancey served as moderator for the discussion panel ‘A Conversation on Native American Health Care.’  The group consisted of Captain Ted Hall, who is a public health service officer and is assigned to the Indian Health Service Agency as an Advanced Practice Pharmacist and has served the Ho-Chunk Nation since 2002, Gail Nahwahquaw, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Tribal Director in the Tribal Affairs Office, and award recipient Kiana Beaudin.

     “I’m a mother. I’m a daughter. I’m a sibling,” said Beaudin when asked to share more on who you are.  Kiana and her husband Greg Stansberry have two sons, John and Issac.

     “I went to training recently.  They asked you to use one word to describe yourself, and it was helper,” Beaudin went on to disclose.  “I think I do that in every aspect of my life.  No matter what it is, I am always trying to help others.”

     The discussion panel continued and answered questions from the audience near the end of the evening.