On episode 232 of The Nurse Keith Show nursing career podcast, Nurse Keith interviews Dr. Erica Elliott of Santa Fe, New Mexico, an environmental doctor who has a compelling story to tell of being a new doctor caring for the Navajo people on a remote New Mexico Indian reservation. Dr. Elliott’s story is skillfully related in her new book, “Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People“.

Erica Elliott is a medical doctor with a busy private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A true adventurer, she has lived and worked around the world. She served as a teacher for Indigenous children on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and in the mountains of Ecuador. She taught rock climbing and mountaineering for Outward Bound and led an all-female expedition to the top of Denali in Alaska. In 1993, Erica helped found The Commons, a cohousing community in Santa Fe.

She raised her son Barrett in this safe and happy environment. Known as the “Health Detective,” she treats mysterious and difficult-to-diagnose illnesses at her clinic within The Commons. Erica is also a public speaker and has given workshops at various venues, including Esalen and Omega Institute. She is a co-author of “Prescriptions for a Healthy House“. She blogs about medical insights and stories from her life at www.musingsmemoirandmedicine.com.

After her first week teaching at a boarding school on the Navajo Reservation near Canyon de Chelly, young Erica Elliott almost leaves in despair, unable to communicate with the children or understand cultural cues. But once she starts learning the Navajo language, the people begin to trust her, taking her into their homes and ceremonies. As she is drawn deeper into Navajo life, Erica has a series of profound experiences with the people, animals, and spirits of Canyon de Chelly. Fulfilling a Navajo grandmother’s prophecy, she returns years later as a medical doctor to offer her services to Navajo patients.

“Dr. Erica Elliott’s account of her life among the Navajo people is a story of high adventure that surpasses the wildest fiction. Elliott’s willingness to transcend her cultural conditioning and enter another complex society is an act of great courage and reveals her boundless empathy and compassion. This book is sorely needed at this moment in America, when divisive voices incessantly warn us of the other, the foreigner, those who “are not like us.”  Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People reveals how diversity, inclusiveness, and tolerance can enrich our own society, which is a lesson on which our future may depend” –– Larry Dossey, MD, author of “One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters”.

This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is sponsored by Carson-Newman, a university offering a number of affordable online education options for nurses seeking to expand their knowledge, credibility, and marketability by earning a highly valued nursing degree.

Carson-Newman

You can purchase the book here or on Amazon.

Connect with Erica: 


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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife, the therapeutic story coach, group facilitator, and writer, Mary Rives, and their remarkably adorable and intelligent cat, George.