American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) people are 2.5 times as likely as US whites to be a victim of violence. Data documenting violence amongst AN people in Alaska are sparse, but the data that exist paint a picture of high levels of many different types of violence. Suicide (violence against oneself) is the leading cause of injury death overall for AN people and homicide is the 5th leading cause. Three out of every four Alaska Native women who live in Alaska are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. While AN people in Alaska experience violence-related health disparities, research in Alaska related to violence and health is limited. The goal for this academic-community partnership meeting series is develop a sustainable partnership between the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) and the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments (CATG) - a tribal organization providing health services to the Alaska Native residents of the Yukon Flats Region of Alaska - to conduct community based participatory research (CBPR) addressed at preventing violence and reducing health disparities related to violence. The activities of the academic- community partnership will be informed by an Advisory Board consisting of AN leaders working in the area of violence prevention, CATG representatives, and individual AN community members from the Yukon Flats region. Year 1 meetings focus on enhancing relationships between ICHS, CATG, the Alaska Native Tribal Health System, and the AN community in the Yukon Flats. Through a series of community presentations and open forums, the partnership will provide health education on the effects of violence in the AN community, violence-related health disparities, and violence prevention. At the same time, the partnership will assess interest in health disparities related to violence, identify AN community research priorities in the Yukon Flats, and educate academic researchers about AN community priorities and traditional approaches to violence prevention. During year 2 of the series, CATG staff and their academic counterparts at ICHS will introduce the partnership's plans to community stakeholders. During year 3, CATG and ICHS will formalize the collaboration and make specific plans for future CBPR projects. During the three years of the project, the study team will work with a CBPR consultant from the Partnerships for Native Health project who will provide guidance on moving from CBPR planning to actual research design and implementation. By the end of the three year meeting series, the partnership plans to develop at least one CBPR project based on identified community priorities related to violence and violence-related health disparities into a fundable grant application.
Alaska Native (AN) people experience disproportionately high rates of violence and related adverse health outcomes. Research into why these health disparities persist is best pursued by academic-community partnerships focused on the priorities of the affected communities. This project will allow us to conduct a series of meetings with AN community members and tribal health organizations to assess AN community interest in violence-related health disparities, identify community priorities, and build an academic-community partnership to conduct community-based participatory research in the future.