- Native Elders Summit: August 2017On August 24 through 25, Partnerships for Native Health (P4NH) sponsored a Summit on Urban Native Elder Health and Health Care at the Suquamish Clearwater Resort, located on the traditional lands of the Suquamish Tribe. On both days, health researchers and community leaders gave presentations and led discussions on healthcare for the growing population of American Indian and Alaska Native elders who live in cities (see agenda). The first day reviewed current issues affecting urban elders. Speakers included research faculty at P4NH; prominent community leaders, such as Dave Baldridge (Cherokee) and Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute; and other research collaborators. The second day was devoted to setting an agenda for new health research to benefit urban Native elders. Presenters and moderators included Dr. Lonnie Nelson (Eastern Band Cherokee), who organized the summit and obtained financial support from National Institutes of Health; Dr. Dedra Buchwald, Director of P4NH; Meghan Jernigan (Choctaw), MPH, Staff Scientist with P4NH; Cindy Gamble (Tlingit), MPH, Tribal Liaison with P4NH; Ms. Echo-Hawk; and Esther Lucero (Dine), Director of the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB). [Photo at left: LaVerne Cook-Wise (Tlingit) of SIHB]
- Spring Powwow: April 8-9, 2017The 46th Annual Spring Powwow, hosted by First Nations at the University of Washington (FN@UW), was celebrated in Seattle on April 8-9, 2017. Dancers, drummers, vendors, and community members thronged the Alaska Airlines Arena on both days of this free event. Organizers estimated overall attendance at about 5,000. More than a dozen Pacific Northwest tribes were represented, including the Quinault, Duwamish, Warm Springs, Colville, Yakama, Spokane, and Skokomish. With Thomas Morning-Owl Grant Tementwa as Master of Ceremonies, dancers competed for cash prizes in several categories: traditional, fancy, grass, jingle, and chicken. As we usually do, staff from Partnerships for Native Health set up a table to distribute health literature, Native art posters, and bean soup recipes (beans included!). We also administered surveys on community health needs and preferences, and we engaged in conversations with many participants. In such a big and friendly crowd, we quickly ran out of surveys. Everyone shared the joy generated by gathering so many tribal nations with such rich cultures and histories in one place. More powwow photos . . .
- Staff and faculty with Partnerships for Native Health (P4NH) recently attended the annual Winter Powwow sponsored by the American Indian Student Commission at the University of Washington. P4NH staff set up a table to distribute literature on Native health concerns, posters featuring Native art, bean soup recipes, and packets of beans. We also distributed 100 surveys on community health concerns. All survey participants were American Indians and Alaska Natives, and all surveys were completed long before the powwow finished. We’re extremely grateful for this response, because survey results guide our research programs. Many participants engaged us in conversation, emphasizing the importance of being able to report their community needs to health investigators. They also appreciated our community-specific literature. Some P4NH staff were new to the Pacific Northwest, but they felt very much at home at this traditional powwow, and they enjoyed mingling with people from so many different tribes. Although the Winter Powwow did not feature contests among dancers, attendees spontaneously contributed prize money to reward the dancer wearing the most exciting Seahawks gear. We didn’t get his picture, but we did manage to photograph a few other Seahawks fans. We look forward to seeing and talking with you at future events!
- We’ve had a productive year at Partnerships for Native Health! All our work depends on active partnerships and collaborations with Native communities – so here’s a big shout out, and an even bigger thank you, to the 6.6 million (and counting!) Native American people across the U.S. With more than a dozen research projects under way, we note just a few highlights: A household-based intervention (FITSMI) to reduce the risk of stroke, delivered to hundreds of Native families in Arizona, Oklahoma, and South Dakota; a dietary intervention at urban sites in Washington and Oklahoma to improve consumption of healthy foods and reduce cardiovascular disease; a national intervention to help Native people quit smoking (AI-STOMP), delivered entirely by text messages; and a home visiting program to improve rates of kidney transplants in Native people. During the past year, we were also funded to conduct a new series of major studies under the umbrella designation of Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk Through Technology. This work will occupy us for at least the next 5 years. Meanwhile, P4NH researchers have been active in reporting the results of past research, collaborating on 27 scientific articles on Native health published in 2016. We wish everyone a very healthy and happy new year! (Photo: Tribal encampment at Standing Rock, ND)
- 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.
April 9, 2017 – Staff with Partnerships for Native Health had a great time at the Spring Powwow hosted by First Nations at the University of Washington. In addition to distributing health surveys, we also took photos, which you can see after the jump.
American Indians are more likely to suffer a stroke than members of any other racial or ethnic group in the US. They also tend to have strokes earlier in life than non-Hispanic Whites. In fact, American Indians younger than 65 are three times more likely to die of stroke than Whites of similar age. Given these statistics, an ongoing study by researchers with Partnerships for Native Health seeks to define the risk factors for stroke in American Indians.
So far, this research has resulted in two scientific publications in Neuroepidemiology. Both are led by Dr. Astrid Suchy-Dicey, an Assistant Research Professor at Washington State University. More publications will follow in the near future. Once all analyses are complete, the next step will be to design interventions that can reduce or eliminate disparities in stroke for Native people.
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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 housed within the Initiative for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) at Washington State University. 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.