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What is Hero’s Story?

1st-Place Winner of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mission Daybreak Challenge as Project Hozho.

Fast Company's "World Changing Ideas 2023"

Hero’s Story is a comprehensive solution to reduce isolation and promote healing amongst AI/AN veterans and tribal communities via accessible traditional healing practices.

Collaborate Now

Who We Are

Televeda is a group of people working to reduce social isolation and loneliness for those who face challenges connecting. Members of the Televeda team include first-generation and 2nd-, 3rd-, and 4th- generation immigrants. We are Indigenous peoples, Arizonans, New Yorkers, Africans, Guatemalans, New Mexicans, and Indians. We are varied genders and sexual orientations, we are multi-generational, and we are all passionate about making human connections.

We have deep and powerful partnerships in the communities we support, including Navajo Nation, Hopi, Lakota, Pascua Yaqui, Tohono O’odham, and more. Our work is community-led and always community first.

What Will the Hero’s Story Project Do?

We’re launching the first indigenous, community-based platform to facilitate  a trusted network of culturally-appropriate interventions & resources that support mental health. In partnership with each community, we're working to deliver care where people need it.

The design and implementation of the Hero’s Story Project has been and will continue to be deeply informed by members of tribal nations including Navajo, Lakota, and O’odham. In partnership with experts, researchers, and tribal liaisons, we are focused on three pillars:

  • Culturally-competent & Community-led

  • Digital infrastructure & broadband access

  • Evidence-based interventions & outcomes

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We’re here to help.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, contact the Veterans Crisis Line 24/7/365 days a year.

Dial 988 then press 1

A Complex Problem

The right kind of care in the right place

Televeda is actively engaged with State and National Broadband efforts to increase digital infrastructure into Tribal Lands. We support this effort today through effective digital literacy training and access to devices, and will continue to partner to help improve access to care for all Tribal areas.

  • Over 67% of AIAN veterans don't use the Veterans Affairs mental health services.

  • Some rural Tribal Community members, Navajo Nation residents must drive an average of 3-4 hours to access healthcare resources.

  • Over 73% of households lack broadband access and over 51% lack computers.

Collaborate Now
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Evidence-Based Research

"Historical Trauma" is not indexed in the DSM-5 as a diagnosis despite being a known contributing factor for suicide in the AIAN population. Treating intergenerational trauma to support mental health would be a seismic shift in how Western healthcare system evaluate these traditional practices.

We incorporate traditional healing practices like storytelling and talking-circle interventions to facilitate community healing. We are establishing a research-based framework that honors traditional methods, unlocking a new path to care. The project builds upon validated practices including peer support, group therapy, and narrative medicine to establish a culturally-sensitive framework uniquely designed for AIANVs.

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Foundational Infrastructure For
Native American populations

Hero’s Story Project Goals

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PRODUCT

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PLAYBOOK

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DATABASE

Broadband, devices, & digital-literacy

Safe, veteran-run peer support groups

Sessions from Traditional Healers & Native Elders

Access to VA resources & benefits

Culturally appropriate mental health app

Centralized database of traditional practices

Suicide prevention interventions training

Scalable model across tribes

Hero's Story Supporters

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The Black Hills Center for American Indian Health is our primary operational and research partner

Additionally, the nation's leading AI/AN public health researchers, cultural experts & veteran service designers are involved in co-design, research & implementation to help scale this across all tribes.

Melody

Melody  
Lewis

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Dr. Patricia Nez
Henderson

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Melody  
Lewis

Learn More

Meet Our
Multidisciplinary Team

Our philosophy is simple — hire a team of diverse, passionate people and foster a culture
that empowers you to do you best work.

Project Management

- Sidnee Peck
Mayank Mishra 

Informal Consultants

- Acknowledgement to Thor Ringler from VA;
Dr. Jennifer Hill (UoA) on Narrative Medicine.

Black Hills Center

- Dr. Patricia NezDr.
Jeff Henderson Lead Research Team

Dr. Bhupin Butaney

- Clinical Psychologist (St. John, Harvard), Mindfulness Curriculum Design

Rebekah Rickner

-Phoenix VA Health Care.
“My Life, My Story” Project

Dr. Roger Walker

- Veteran, Native American.
OneSkyCenter for Public Health

Kyle Mitchell

- Native Veteran
Traditional and Modern Navajo Storyteller

Dr. Renda Madrigal

- Native American.
Instructional Design &  Storytelling Researcher

Wayne Tormala

- Veteran - Facilitator, AZDHS ret. Bureau
Chief,  Emmy Award-Winner

Dr. Czarina Thelen

- Lead Scientific Officer.
Anthropologist & Critical Indigenous Studies

We're actively seeking partnerships and collaborations with Indigenous Communities. If you’re interested in bringing Hero’s Story to your community, let’s talk.

Learn More

Are you a Veteran and seeking a path to connect with others? We’d love to meet you.

Join Class

“Those who tell the
stories, rule the world”
-Hopi Proverb

Read Our Data Commitment

We’re here to help you!

If you are having thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, contact the Veterans Crisis Line 24/7/365 days a year.

Dial 988 then press 1

More About Hero's Story

Everything you need to know about the project.

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Hero's Story

Hero's Story, previously known as Project Hózhó, is a comprehensive solution to promote social connectedness amongst AI/AN veterans & tribes via traditional-healing practices.


First-Place Winner of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Mission Daybreak Challenge

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DownloadImageNavajoAdvs
Project

What Will The Hero's Story Project Do?

Ambitious rollout of Digital Infrastructure. We are increasing broadband access and digital-literacy in Indian country to improve access to care.

Web application delivering care where the people are. We're launching the first indigenous community-based app to facilitate building a trusted network of culturally-appropriate interventions & resources that support mental health.

Evidence & research-based framework & analysis. We incorporate traditional healing practices like storytelling and talking-circle interventions to reduce social isolation and facilitate community healing.

A Complex Problem

Improving access to care where & how the people want it.

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) have the highest rates of PTSD and suicide. They often have trouble accessing care or don't want to receive services due to a historical lack of trust in the government & culturally inadequate resources.

  • Over 67% of AIAN veterans don't use the Veterans Affairs mental health services.
  • Navajo Nation residents must drive an average of 3-4 hours to access healthcare resources.
  • Over 73% of households lack broadband access and over 51% lack computers.
Suicide

Evidence-Based Research

"Historical Trauma" is not indexed in the DSM-5 as a diagnosis despite being a known contributing factor for suicide in the AIAN population. Treating intergenerational trauma to support mental health would be a seismic shift in how Western healthcare system evaluate these traditional practices. 

The Hero's Story initiative would be the first time indigenous practices would be digitized and remotely accessible for mental health support. The project builds upon validated practices including peer support, group therapy, and narrative medicine to establish a culturally-sensitive framework uniquely designed for AIANVs. 

Foundational Infrastructure for Native American populations

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Hero's Story Goals

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Broadband, devices & digital-literacy
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Safe veteran run peer support groups
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Sessions from Traditional Healers & Native Elders
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Access to VA resources & benefits
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Culturally appropriate mental health app
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Centralized database of traditional practices
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Suicide prevention interventions training
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Scalable model across tribes

Native American Expertise

The Black Hills Center for American Indian Health is our primary operational and research partner in the Navajo Nation.

Additionally, the nation's leading AI/AN public health researchers, cultural experts & veteran service designers are involved in co-design, research & implementation to help scale this across all tribes.

Learn More
Bhcaih
Madrigal
Dr. Renda Madrigal
Patricia
Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson
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Dr. Roger Walker
Hero's story tASK FORCE

Multidisciplinary Team

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Mayank Mishra, Project Manager
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Shruti Gurudanti, Sustainability & Ethics
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Dr. Patricia Nez Henderson, Operations & Research
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Wayne Tormala, Veteran Facilitator
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Dr. Renda Madrigal, Instructional Design & Content
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Dr. Roger Walker, AI/AN Veterans Implementation
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Herschel Clark, Veteran Recruitment
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Sidnee Peck, Partnerships & Financial Operations
We are committed to Hiring from indigenous communities.  

Join Team


If you’d like to Collaborate as a partner or researcher, please connect.

Get Involved

Support

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real person

"Those who tell the stories, rule the world” -- Hopi Proverb

Native Americans have used oral storytelling to educate and promote wellness for thousands of years. 

We’re honored to support the timeless wisdom of Native Elders for future generations and play a part in cultural preservation of such important traditions.

Read our commitment to Tribal Data Sovereignty & User Privacy.

Best Practices & Industry Standards

Currently developed Accessibility Features for Programs include:

WWW logo
Browser based
(no downloads or pins)
Username and password logo
Passwordless Authentication
click logo
1-click access to join classes
universal platform logo
Device, OS and browser agnostic for maximum inclusion
call center help logo
Live human tech supportoptions (via phone,email, chat)
changing account logo
Co-browsing remotescreen to assist usersin real time;
calendar logo
Scheduled email/textreminders to usersfor classes
webcam logo
Private classes forsecurity moderation ofspecial groups

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

Accessibility is never complete and is an ongoing journey. If you would like to make suggestions for improvements, have questions or would like get involved please reach out to [email protected]. We take requests for special accommodations. 

  • Universal passwordless login, making the experience easy especially for users with cognitive disabilities.
  • Single Sign on (SSO) patterns to remember user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.
  • Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards & OWASP C1-C8 Controls.
  • User input includes a one-time registration process. All forms are Section 508 compliant.
  • Support for screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields.

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

We take requests for special accommodations. [email protected]  Further, user input only includes a one-time form submission during sign up following accessibility guidelines as mentioned herein, including accessible via screen readers, color contrast, fonts for low vision, increased button and input fields for motor functions, and appropriate labeling for fields. The registration form is Section 508 compliant. After that the whole streaming/interactive experience can be operated by users simply by clicks. We leverage Auth0 universal passwordless login, making the experience easy for users with cognitive disabilities. The televeda website for class RSVPs uses JotForm which is the only third-party online form builder that is Section 508 compliant.Compliance with most WCAG 2.0 conformance standards. Registration: Our registration process has been developed without usernames-passwords for highest accessibility. Based on several accessibility studies, we have adopted the approach of not using username-passwords, and chosen invite codes for maximum inclusion. We are adopting Single Sign on (SSO) Patterns with browser cookies to remember the user’s device and enable 1-click access moving forward for utmost convenience.

1International Journal of Recent Technology and Engineering (IJRTE), “Usable Authentication Methods for Seniors”

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5662789/, “Patient Portal Use and Experience Among Older Adults: Systematic Review”, Meta analysis of patient portal software by NIH, mentions log-in issues and other papers with accessibility suggestions,

Leading Industry Standards

Security & Privacy Measures

Protecting vulnerable members is what we do.
You can read more details of our IT Security, Privacy & ToC, and Community Guidelines here.

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ISO 27001
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SOC 1 and SOC 2/SSAE 16/ISAE 3402
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Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
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Advanced Media Stream Encryption

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If you are having thoughts of suicide or know someone who is, contact the Veterans Crisis Line 24/7/365 days a year.

Phone: Dial 988 then press 1
Chat: Online support at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
Text: Send a message to 838255