- 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
- Native Pride Basketball Camp: August 2014Native Pride Basketball Camp is a three-day program for Native youth, held at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, WA. Athletes learn intermediate and advanced basketball skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. They also participate in daily talking circles and discuss traditional ways, with an emphasis on tribal identity and cultural values. This year, several P4NH staff members attended the camp to do educational outreach on healthy eating choices and cancer prevention. They prepared Enchilada Casserole – a healthy variation on a traditional recipe – as well as fruit salad. P4NH staff member Abigail Echohawk then gave a talk on the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle in preventing cancer, and offered some tips on how to choose healthier options.
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.
Preparing Our Future Native American Health Leaders
In this work, you are dealing with people’s spirits. You will make other people sick if you aren’t well when you try to do healing work with others.
— Angela Fernandez, UW School of Social Work
American Indians and Alaska Natives are under-represented among professionals in science and healthcare. One approach to increasing the number of Native people in these fields was showcased at a March 2014 conference at the University of Washington (UW): Preparing Our Future Native American Health Leaders. The goal was to encourage and equip Native students for careers in healthcare. Native undergraduate and graduate students from UW, Washington State University, Northwest Indian College, and other local community colleges participated in this three-day event. Read More »
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.