The purpose of the Joining Circles: Academic-Community Partnership for Health initiative is to enhance existing partnerships and expand linkages among American Indian intertribal communities, VCU and public health organizations;and to reduce health disparities, specifically obesity, in the indigenous populations of Virginia. We will conduct community meetings, collaborative workshops, trainings and provide educational opportunities for public health professionals, community leaders and tribal members.
Our specific aims are to: 1. To convene a Community Advisory Board (CAB) team of community members and create a MOU. 2. To identify the community's priorities in addressing the disparities in health related to obesit. 3. To conduct bi-directional educational, communication and outreach activities within the tribal community through multiple forums.
The Joining Circles project will mobilize and build upon strengths within the Native American communities of Virginia who experience health inequities and disparities in access to care and health outcomes. Although poor health outcomes are visible to the communities, there is little documentation because American Indians in Virginia have been left out of the state and federal health data. By implementing community based participatory research approaches, Joining Circles will begin to fill this gap by healing distrust, creating connections and documenting data.