News & Updates

Fighting Obesity with Breast Milk

Anna Zamora-Kapoor, PhD, a researcher with Partnerships for Native Health, recently reported a link between breastfeeding and body weight later in life among Native people. In an article published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, she demonstrated that longer periods of breastfeeding in infancy are associated with lower body mass index (BMI) among American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents and young adults.
“The more breastfeeding, the better,” says Dr. Zamora-Kapoor. “Babies who breastfeed longer are more likely to avoid excess weight gain in adolescence and beyond. This is important for Native families, because Native youth have the highest rates of obesity among young people of all races. Obesity is associated with many health problems that are prevalent in Native communities, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
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February 22nd 2017,
News & Updates

Unforeseen Barriers to Kidney Transplants

Native people face many barriers to medical care. Some are widely recognized, such as a lack of individual health insurance, or an absence of accessible, high-quality healthcare services. But other barriers are less obvious, as researchers with Partnerships for Native Health recently discovered.


For a study entitled “Culturally Adapted Strategies to Enhance Kidney Donation in Native Communities,” community health educators have been visiting Native patients on kidney dialysis to provide education and facilitation around the process of kidney transplantation. This study involves patients in urban and rural areas of two western states. Notably, Native people have high rates of chronic kidney disease and kidney dialysis, but low rates of kidney transplants. As our community educators have learned, several unforeseen barriers contribute to these low rates. All involve health system factors, and all might seem relatively simple or mundane – unless you happen to be a Native patient waiting for a new kidney.
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December 22nd 2016,
Our Mission

We conduct community-centered research, training, education, and outreach to improve the health and quality of life of American Indian and Alaska Native populations.

Program Overview

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.