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Auburn Dush

Navajo Special Diabetes Program

Home Support Response / Fitness Specialist – Dilkon Service Area

Auburn Dush is a Fitness Specialist for the Navajo Special Diabetes Program, in Dilkon, AZ. She provides diabetes education, nutrition, and fitness classes for chronic disease prevention for all community members, both young and older populations. Designing individualized and group exercise programs are her specialty. She is from Indian Wells, AZ – a small community, 39 miles north of Holbrook, AZ.

Life has changed throughout the country since the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for Auburn. Her job has shifted from a fitness trainer to a Home Support staff for the Health Command Operations Center. As a frontline worker, she assists COVID-19 patients by packing provisions that can sustain them for at least two weeks, such as food, household cleaning supplies, infant products, pet food, isolation kits, cloth face coverings, and gloves.

"I started with the Strike Team, who is assigned at the frontlines to combat the coronavirus, and began working with the Winslow Community Health Representatives (CHRs) to deliver an amazing amount of water, food boxes, and educational materials to community members. We traveled many miles of rural roads that I didn't know existed. Eventually, I was reassigned to Home Support. We established the Dilkon Point of Distribution site to supply patients in need, and I am highly proficient at taking inventory and organizing supplies."


In the Dilkon area, many homes do not have running water and electricity. Many families and elders travel numerous miles on unrelenting unpaved roads to the nearest grocery store and town, which may be a 150 to 200 miles roundtrip. Knowing she can help her community members motivates Auburn to continue providing needed services to her people.


"There are many people who are alone, afflicted with multiple chronic illnesses, or do not have the means to make it to the Chapter House for supply distributions. Many of them also do not have the resources to travel many miles to grocery stores to get essential supplies. I fill that gap in getting them their supplies."


During Auburn's time with the Strike Team, she had the opportunity to deliver food boxes to the Birdsprings community with the CHRs. The challenge seemed rather daunting in locating rural and isolated homes. Without the CHRs' uncanny navigation abilities, Auburn would not have been as victorious.

"When someone gave directions to a patient's home, it could easily be misunderstood. There is no rural addressing on the Navajo Nation. Many directions to homes are by descriptions and landmarks. I have learned, there is new meaning to a beige house, red roof, trampoline, and a large shade tree; when in reality, it is a dark brown house, faded pink roof, half a trampoline, and a tamarack tree. If you are not familiar with these types of directions, you can easily get lost."


Auburn fervently believes, the Navajo people should take precautions no matter how small and simple. Avoiding large gatherings or parties is the responsibility of all Navajo citizens. She is continuously praying these uncertain times are soon over.

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