Jennifer Whitehair, MD, FACOG, is the 2022 recipient of the prestigious ACOG Outstanding AI/AN Women’s Healthcare Clinician Award, also known as the William H.J. Haffner AI/AN Women’s Health Award.
On behalf of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the College Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Women’s Health is extremely pleased to announce that Jennifer Whitehair, MD, FACOG, is the 2022 recipient of the Award for her career-long commitment to the highest standards of clinical care for American Indian and Alaska Native Women. It is expected that the Award will be presented at the ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting which will be held on May 6 through May 8, 2022 in San Diego, CA. The award will be presented during the AI/AN Women’s Health Committee Reception at the ACSM.
Dr. Whitehair returned to her father’s community, Tuba City, in northern Arizona on the Navajo Nation in 2006 following completion of her residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Arizona. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Microbiology from the Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, and then her Doctorate of Medicine Degree from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Sioux Falls, SD, in 2002. She is recipient of the Medical Student Teaching Award from the University of Arizona in 2004. At Tuba City she serves as the Chief of Surgical Services and Staff Obstetrician and Gynecologist and since 2012 she is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Arizona School of Medicine. During her years at Tuba City, she has presented a variety of educational topics at local, regional and national medical meetings and conferences.
In the letter of nomination in consideration for this award, her nominee describes several highly significant attributes demonstrated by Dr. Whitehair over the span of her sixteen years at Tuba City Regional Healthcare. It is noted that she provides culturally sensitive care, for example, to an elderly Navajo sheepherder in her native language but that if conservative measures fail, she provides skilled surgical care to this woman. She has served as a mentor to countless students and residents over the years, sharing her knowledge about the community on the Navajo Nation as well as her surgical knowledge. Through her participation in ACOG’s advocacy training series and as an invited lecturer at all three residency programs in Arizona she has provided education to practitioners to help them to better care for indigenous communities throughout the state. While she is a skilled surgical specialist, she is also described as being “committed to grassroots efforts that serve her community. During the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, she was a vital catalyst connecting resources from off the reservation to the people on the Navajo Nation. She coordinated with multiple non-profit organizations and countless individuals to deliver masks, hand sanitizer, food, cleaning products and other supplies to the community at a time when there was a dire need.”
Dr. Whitehair has clearly earned the distinction of being the 2022 recipient of the prestigious award of the Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Women’s Health of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the “Haffner Award.”
Previous recipients of the Haffner AI/AN Women’s Health Award include:
- 2021 Peachie Barton-Daugherty, Certified Nurse Midwife
- 2020 CAPT Suzanne England, DNP, Certified Nurse Midwife
- 2019 CDR Rachel Locker, MD
- 2018 Glen Y. Kishi, MD, Obstetrician-Gynecologist
- 2017 Ursula Knoki-Wilson, Certified Nurse Midwife
- 2016 Amanda Leib, MD, Obstetrician-Gynecologist
- 2015 Marilyn Pierce-Bulger, Certified Nurse Midwife
- 2014 John S. Condojani, DO, Family Practitioner
- 2013 Ann Glasheen, Family Nurse Practitioner
- 2012 Judith Thierry, DO, Pediatrician
- 2011 Nigel Wappett, MD, Obstetrician-Gynecologist
Nominations for recipients of this annual ACOG award for 2023 will be solicited throughout the Indian Health system in several months. Please consider nominating a provider who demonstrates the outstanding caliber of those already recognized when the nominations are opened for the next award cycle. Clinicians could be, but do not need to be, obstetricians and gynecologists. Any health care professional such as a family physician, physician assistant, registered nurse, certified nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner can be nominated for this award. Nominees must clearly demonstrate sustained commitment and dedication to providing exceptional care to AI/AN women, and they must be currently working within an IHS or Tribal position or be recently retired from such a position. The chair of the ACOG AI/AN Committee on Women’s Health serves as the chair of the awards committee. The IHS Chief Clinical Consultant for Obstetrics and Gynecology serves as a non-voting resource to the awards committee. An endowed fund raised by contributions from friends of ACOG and its Indian women’s health initiatives is matched by the College’s overall endowment to support the cost of sustaining this annual award process.
For more information, please see the American Indian and Alaska Native Women's Health program page.