CDC and Indian Country: Working Together

CDC and Indian Country: Working Together
Posted 10/7/2020

This report provides a snapshot of CDC's work in Indian Country, with tribal nations, tribal organizations, and American Indians and Alaska Natives across the United States. The CDC's Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) asked CDC to prepare a booklet highlighting the work being done in Indian Country as part of a broader portfolio to improve health and protect against health threats. American Indians and Alaska Natives have higher rates of disease, injury, and premature death than other racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Many Native populations also have higher rates of poverty, unemployment, poor housing, and low education, among other adversities. These afflictions result from historical insults and injustices, perpetrated over many generations. CDC works with and supports American Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages, tribal organizations, and Tribal Epidemiology Centers to promote health, prevent disease, reduce health disparities, and strengthen connections to culture and lifeways that improve health and wellness that have been threatened over generations. CDC’s work with and support of Indian Country to improve the lives of Native peoples is reflected in this report. Report includes the CDC's role in understanding health in Indian Country, including significant health and socioeconomic disparities that face American Indians and Alaska Natives, such as the suicide rate among American Indian and Alaska Native adolescents and young adults ages 15 to 34 is 1.5 times higher than the national average for that age group, but also includes important topics in Indian Country, such as Detecting and Responding to New and Emerging Health Threats; Tackling the Biggest Health Problems Causing Disability and Death (suicide, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Hep C/HIV, motor vehicle accidents, and others); Putting Science and Advanced Technology into Action to Prevent Disease; Promoting Healthy and Safe Behaviors, Communities and Environments; Developing Leaders and Training the Public Health Workforce, Including Disease Detectives; Taking the Health Pulse of Our Nations; and What's Ahead. Many case studies are presented throughout the report, and best, promising and innovative practices are highlighted, including the creation of Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC), which supports a coordinated, holistic approach to healthy living and chronic disease prevention and supports and reinforces work already underway in Indian Country to make healthy choices and lifeways easier for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The program seeks to reduce disability and death due to commercial tobacco use, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Showcasing the GHWIC partnership with CDC, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa partnered with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center to conduct surveys to better understand the needs of their people. Red Cliff used tools and resources from CDC’s GHWIC program to analyze and understand their data and make decisions about programs in the community. The report summarizes seven strategies for moving forward to promote health and well-being in Indian Country, including improving family and community activities that connect cultural teachings to health and wellness; providing seasonal cultural and traditional practices that support health and wellness; provide social and cultural activities that promote community wellness; increase collaborations that strengthen well-being within the tribe, intertribally, and also government collaborations; increase intergenerational learning opportunities that support well-being and resilience; offer cultural teachings and practices about traditional healthy foods to promote health, sustenance and sustainability; support traditional and contemporary physical activities that strengthen well being.