New UNHS program ready to begin

Utah Navajo Health System’s new Family Spirit Program is now fully staffed, with the addition of a third Public Health Nurse, and the staff began seeing patients in early April.

Don Benally, RN, has accepted the final Public Health Nurse position and joins Darcy Chamberlain and Talisha Biakeddy on the staff of the Family Spirit Program, under the direction of UNHS Public Health Director Shawn Begay. Benally’s background includes experience as a combat engineer, journeyman electrician and seven years of schooling as a Certified Nursing Assistant, LPN, RN and a Bachelors Degree in Public Health Nursing, all from Weber State University.

Benally grew up in Forest Lake, Arizona, and attended high school at Monument Valley High School, in Kayenta, where he graduated in 1990. After graduation he joined the United States Army and trained as a combat engineer. He ser-ved in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom and left the Army in 2008.

In 2009 he began his nursing training at Weber State University, in Ogden, and received his CNA, LPN, RN and Bachelors in Nursing over the next seven years. He finished his schooling last December and learned of the UNHS Public Health Nurse position from family members living in Aneth, where his wife’s family lives.

He met his wife in 2000 and over the past seventeen years the couple has welcomed five children to their family. Their children range in age from 15 years to 16 months. His wife works with Navajo Nation Behavioral Health, in Shiprock, New Mexico and the family lives in Aneth.

Benally said he’s excited to join the Family Spirit Program and looks forward to reaching out, educating and working with young mothers and young families. The program focuses on mothers in their third trimester of pregnancy and works with the family until the babies reach their third year of age. The Public Health Nurses work to teach young families basic life skills to help care for their babies and their families so they are equipped to care for them after they leave the program.

Benally said he hasn’t had much time for hobbies over the years because he’s been busy with school and work and other responsibilities, but he does enjoy running and he enjoys spending time with his family.

We are happy to have Don as a part of the UNHS family and we look forward to getting to know him better. When you see him around say hello and welcome him aboard.


Editor’s Note:

Don Benally was recently selected as one of the Top 10 Graduating Seniors at Weber State University, earning a 3.5 GPA or higher, and have demonstrated excellence in leadership, community service, teamwork, diversity and inclusion. He will be honored at WSU’s 8th Annual Ceremony of Excellence.


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