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Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D.,
Surgeon, Teacher, Native American & New Hampshire Resident

Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord is the first Navajo woman to become a surgeon. Dr. Alvord, whose father was a full blooded Navajo, grew up on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico where she attended the local public schools, 95% Navajo. One of the few students in her graduating class to attend college, Dr. Alvord selected Dartmouth College, which has encouraged and supported Native American students.

After graduating from Dartmouth College where she majored in psychology, sociology, and Native American Studies, Dr. Alvord began working in New Mexico as a biomedical research assistant. While working in New Mexico, Dr. Alvord decided to pursue a carrier as a medical doctor. Dr. Alvord completed her M.D. from Stanford University Medical School where she received additional training in the Stanford Department of General Surgery.

From 1991-1997, Dr. Alvord practiced at the Gallup Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico where she brought to her practice the best of training in traditional western medicine and an understanding and appreciation of the medical ways of her tribe. In 1997 Dr. Alvord joined the staff at Dartmouth Medical School where she shares her quality medical training with students of all backgrounds and experience, including Native Americans.

Dr. Alvord is currently a practicing surgeon at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Associate Dean of Minority and Student Affairs at Dartmouth Medical School.

The Scalpel and the Silver Bear
The Scalpel
and the Silver

Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D.
Buy the Book
The Scalpel and the Silver Bear, in the author's words, is the story of "how a girl from a small and remote town on an Indian reservation was able to become a surgeon [and] work in the high-tech realm of a surgical operating room, and [how] ancient tribal ways and philosophies can help a floundering medical system find its way back to its original mission: healing."

In Dr. Alvord's book we learn about the healing practices of the Navajo people and the challenges the Navajo beliefs posed to a member of the tribe entering the realm of Western medicine. This is an important story. It is particularly appropriate for our times when "alternative medicine" is garnering so much attention, and Western medicine, with pills, equipment and modern procedure, seems frustrated in its ability to heal.

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