American Indians: Health Disparities Research

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American Indians have had health disparities as result of unmet needs and historical traumatic experiences that have lasted over 500 hundred years.1(p99) Since first contact American Indians have been exposed to infectious disease and death2(p19), more importantly, a legacy of genocide, legislated forcible removal, reservation, termination, allotment, and assimilation3. This catastrophic history had led to generational historical traumas and contributes to the worst health in the United States.2 American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) represent 0.9 percent of the United States population4(p3) or 1.9 million AI/AN of 566 federally recognized tribes/nations.5 American Indians/Alaska Natives have significantly higher mortality rates of intentional and unintentional injuries, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease and chronic lower respiratory disease than other American.6 Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2 diabetes/adult onset diabetes) is an epidemic in American Indian and Alaska Natives communities.7 AI/AN have the highest morbidity and mortality rates in the United States.7 American Indian/Alaska Native adults are 2.3 more times likely to be diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus than non-Hispanic Whites.7 More importantly, AI/AN adolescent ages 10-14 are 9 times likely to be diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus than non-Hispanic Whites.7 Type 2 diabetes is high blood glucose levels due to lack of insulin and/or inability to use it efficiently.8 Type 2 diabetes usually affects older adults; 8 however, the incident rate is rising quicker amongst AI/AN youth than non-Hispanic Whites.7 This is foreshadowing of earlier serious complications that will be effecting the AI/AN communitie... ... middle of paper ... ...alth screening and risk classification, self-efficacy, and mental health. The classes provided would provide best practice techniques in a group setting. The group setting would mirror the community approach that is seen in traditional AI/AN communities. It would build on strengths and resources within the community and promote co-learning amongst all community members. In conclusion, the persistent disparities in American Indians and Alaska Natives communities are deeply rooted in historical trauma. To improve the health status of AI/AN there needs more American Indian/Alaska Natives delivery health care to the community. More importantly, tribal leaders and the AI/AN community must participate in raising the health status of the community. It should not take a congressional action to decrease the disparities plaguing the American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

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