The proposed research aims to identify and understand culturally-specific mental health and substance use issues comorbid with Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), and further investigate the impact of such comorbidity on treatment compliance and health behaviors among Ojibwe adults by way of community-based participatory research (CBPR). During the proposed funding period, we plan to further develop current research partnerships between two Ojibwe reservation communities and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. From within these partnerships, the proposed work includes a mixed-methods investigation of the expression and prevalence depression and other mental health problems, including substance use, among Ojibwe adults suffering from T2D. The ultimate goal of this project is to obtain preliminary data and create a foundation for continued CBPR projects and future funding applications, including the creation of culturally-specific, empirically-based treatment and intervention programs.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research addresses community-based concerns regarding inattention to mental health and substance use factors thought to be related to chronic disease (type 2 diabetes) management and treatment noncompliance among a single cultural group of North American Indigenous adults in two reservation communities.
This research aims to investigate the expression and prevalence of the burden of mental illness in these and other Indigenous communities among those also suffering with comorbid diabetes. This research will address comorbid mental health and diabetes issues that are currently under-examined and/or overlooked in these Indigenous communities and in the American Indian-specific literature.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Study Section
Mental Health Services in Non-Specialty Settings (SRNS)
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Muehrer, Peter R
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Carlson, Amanda E; Aronson, Benjamin D; Unzen, Michael et al. (2017) Apathy and Type 2 Diabetes among American Indians: Exploring the Protective Effects of Traditional Cultural Involvement. J Health Care Poor Underserved 28:770-783
Walls, Melissa; Pearson, Cynthia; Kading, Margarette et al. (2016) Psychological Wellbeing in the Face of Adversity among American Indians: Preliminary Evidence of a New Population Health Paradox? Ann Public Health Res 3:
Aronson, Benjamin D; Johnson-Jennings, Michelle; Kading, Margarette L et al. (2016) Mental health service and provider preference among American Indians with type 2 diabetes. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 23:1-23
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Walls, Melissa L; Gonzalez, John; Gladney, Tanya et al. (2015) Unconscious biases: racial microaggressions in American Indian health care. J Am Board Fam Med 28:231-9
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