- The Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) has been promoting medical education among American Indians and Alaska Natives for the past half-century. In August, a staff member with Partnerships for Native Health, Lindsey Montileaux Mabbutt (Oglala Lakota), presented a poster on our research at the Association’s 45th annual conference in Oakland, California. The poster described the Family Intervention in the Spirit of Motivational Interviewing (FITSMI). Ms. Montileaux Mabbutt was lead author, and Lonnie Nelson, Tauqeer Ali, and Dedra Buchwald were co-authors. Their contribution was awarded first prize in the poster competition. Its topic was a good fit for this year’s conference, which honored traditional healing as well as biomedical disciplines and emphasized the entire spectrum of care in urban and rural settings. FITSMI is a household-based intervention, now in the third of five project years. It uses a traditional talking circle to encourage and support American Indian family members who take steps to reduce their risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. The photo shows Lindsey Montileaux Mabbutt with Polly Olsen (Yakama), Executive Director of AAIP.
- The 45th annual Spring Powwow just took place on Saturday and Sunday, April 23-24, at the University of Washington’s Alaska Airlines Arena. Native visitors attended from across the country, and Partnerships for Native Health was there to host a table and conduct community outreach. We loved listening to the unique hand drummers and watching the dancers in their gorgeous regalia. We offered handouts on colon cancer screening, hypertension control, and organ donation. We also distributed our popular bean bags, which include a healthy soup recipe with the essential ingredients. We invited everyone who visited our table to complete a brief survey. It took the form of a community health needs assessment, with some items on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Everyone who completed the survey received $10. Throughout the powwow we received lots of positive feedback, and many people thanked us for the work we do. We felt honored to be part of such a great event, where we met new friends, listened to their stories about achieving good health, and experienced massive amounts of gratitude. Many people asked us which events we would be attending in the future. We’re excited to say that we’ll be at the Seafair Powwow in Seattle on July 15-17, 2016. We hope to see you there!
- Members of Partnerships for Native Health recently attended the 28th annual Daybreak Star Powwow, also known as the Seafair Indian Days Powwow. Held in Seattle’s Discovery Park from July 17 to July 19, this three-day festival celebrated Native American and Indigenous culture. It featured traditional drummers and dancers in gorgeous regalia, along with lots of Native food and art. Partnerships for Native Health set up a table to promote healthy lifestyles and disseminate pamphlets, posters, and children’s books. All these materials included disease prevention information, such as messages on breast cancer, colon cancer, and high blood pressure. We also handed out bags of beans with a soup recipe so that powwow enthusiasts could make healthy soup at home, and we administered a health needs survey. In an effort to launch a new social trend, we hosted a photo booth with the tagline #2BHealthy. Participants, particularly children and youth, enjoyed getting dressed up and holding posters with the tagline. We heard a lot of positive feedback on our work to improve the health and wellbeing of Native people. We were honored by the personal stories that powwow participants shared with us, as well as their expressions of gratitude.
- UW Winter Powwow: January 24, 2015The land where the University of Washington sits has long been a site of gatherings and celebrations for local tribal nations. That tradition continued with the annual powwow hosted by the American Indian Student Union at the HUB Ballroom on Saturday, January 24. Staff from Partnerships for Native Health attended, along with students, youth, elders, community organizations, artists, and vendors. Among the traditional foods available were locally famous dried deer and elk meat hunted and smoked by a Yakama elder. We shared materials on health promotion and disease prevention, including children's books, dried beans (with a soup recipe!) and Art for Cancer posters. We were honored to be part of the tradition of exchanging knowledge and supporting community health.
- Our Food is Our Medicine: September 2014Staff with Partnerships for Native Health spent a revitalizing day at “Our Food is Our Medicine,” an annual conference sponsored by the Institute of Indigenous Foods & Traditions. This year the conference was hosted by the Suquamish Tribe in Kitsap County. Participants attended workshops on the environment, climate change, treaty rights, and medicinal plants indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. One highlight of the day was a plant walk through a nearby wooded area. We learned about the healing properties of many indigenous plants, as well as traditional practices for collecting them. A central principle in all indigenous gathering is the importance of expressing gratitude for the earth and respect for the plant. Another is to be generous with what you receive from the plant: sharing with other people is essential. Read More
Members of our staff recently enjoyed three rewarding and productive weeks at the Summer Research Training Institute in Portland, Oregon. Housed at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, funded by the National Institutes of Health, and co-sponsored by the Center for Healthy Communities at the Oregon Health & Science University, the Summer Institute features an intensive three-week curriculum designed for professionals working in American Indian and Alaska Native health. This year it ran from June 13 to July 1.
Within the curriculum are more than a dozen week-long courses on a rich array of topics, including epidemiology, biostatistics, indigenous ways of knowing, community-based participatory research, ethical issues in research with human participants, survey design and management, program planning and evaluation, grant management, cancer prevention, and digital storytelling. For Lindsey Montileaux Mabbutt, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a research coordinator at our center, the digital storytelling course was one of the program’s highlights. The video she made for the course – “You Have What It Takes” – is available on YouTube at this link.
In 2013, Partnerships for Native Health conducted a needs assessment by interviewing community healthcare workers who serve partner tribes throughout Washington State. Approximately 80% of those interviewed expressed needs for a program of support for cancer survivors, as well as training for program facilitators. To address these needs, staff at our organization collaborated with Dr. Rachel Ceballos of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to develop a culturally relevant survivorship program that includes a curriculum for support groups. These materials were tailored for American Indians and Alaska Natives from a program that Dr. Ceballos originally created for Latino communities in eastern Washington.
We conduct community-centered research, training, education, and outreach to improve the health and quality of life of American Indian and Alaska Native populations.
Partnerships for Native Health (P4NH) is a program located at the Center for Clinical and Epidemiological Research (CCER) at the University of Washington. Formalized in 2009, it emerged from two decades of work with Native communities. Over time, the program has developed a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to achieve our mission of improving the health and well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native people of all ages. We have done so by incorporating these core principles: engagement and participation with our community partners; education, training, and capacity-building for Native people and communities; infrastructure development; technical assistance; research on healthcare and other community needs; and widespread sharing of our results in ways that recognize and respect the unique cultural contexts of American Indian and Alaska Native people.
Local outreach efforts just achieved a big success in raising awareness of organ donation in Native communities. Although most people waiting for organ transplants belong to racial and ethnic minorities, relatively few organ donors are minorities themselves. This mismatch between supply and demand is particularly acute for Native Americans – because the best organ donor for a Native person is often another Native. LifeCenter Northwest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation, partners with more than 200 hospitals to serve families and communities across Washington, Montana, northern Idaho, and Alaska.
If you happened to stop by our offices this summer, chances are you would find staff from Native People for Cancer Control filling bags with our very special bean soup mix. Each bag is stuffed with five different kinds of beans and a small card with a soup recipe. Also on the card is information explaining how eating beans can reduce your risk of cancer. Our bean soup mix is intended to launch conversations at community events, where we often set up tables for health education.