ThinkFirst Navajo names new director

Noel Lyn Smith
Jodee Dennison

FARMINGTON — A new director has been selected for the injury prevention program under Eve’s Fund for Native American Health Initiatives.

Jodee Dennison has been named to oversee services provided by ThinkFirst Navajo, according to an Eve's Fund press release.

In a telephone interview Friday, Dennison said she looks forward to promoting the program's outreach services, as well as increasing her experience in injury prevention.

ThinkFirst Navajo offers presentations to communities and schools about injury prevention. The presentations include having adult Navajos with paraplegia present their personal injury stories while talking about spine and brain injury prevention to students on the Navajo Nation.

For Dennison, sharing those messages and advocating for injury prevention is a passion, she said.

Dennison, who is a member of the Navajo tribe, worked in injury prevention for 21 years with the Indian Health Service and retired as a commander in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service in March 2013.

She worked in the Billings Area IHS in Montana and the Navajo IHS Area in Gallup. Her career started in Oklahoma after she earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Oklahoma. Dennison's work included gathering and analyzing data about injury prevention among Native Americans.

She said the leading cause of death on tribal lands is the result of motor vehicle accidents. Programs like ThinkFirst Navajo are teaching community members to think twice before engaging in activities such as texting while driving, she said.

"The overall goal is to save lives," Dennison said, adding the program is open to making presentations to communities and schools.

For more information about ThinkFirst Navajo, contact the program at 800-646-2952 or

Eve’s Fund president Barbara Crowell Roy said in the release the program was fortunate to be able to hire Dennison as director.

"Jodee brings a unique combination of knowledge, skills and experience to our program, as well a commitment to improving the health and well-being of young Navajo people," Roy said in the release.

Eve’s Fund is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005. In addition to ThinkFirst Navajo, the organization offers suicide prevention, literacy and scholarships programs for Native American youth.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.