Al populations continue to suffer significant health disparities in behavioral and mental health with vigorous persistence across the life span. In this application, Washington State University (WSU) and the Spokane Tribe of Indians seek support to apply a community based participatory research approach to form a Substance Use and Mental Health Collaborative for Rural American Indian Adolescents. Our Collaborative will work towards eliminating health disparity gaps identified by national studies and Al governments. Our goal is to directly contribute to improved mental health and reduced substance abuse in rural American Indian (Al) communities through scientific application of CBPR principles to develop culturally relevant intervention strategies. Our project will pursue respectful research that will empower and build capacity by capitalizing on several large, well-organized, existing efforts and prior partnership activities. This will be accomplished by 1) Establishing a community action board (CAB) consisting of tribal members, educational representatives, substance abuse treatment professionals from nearby communities and academics with expertise in substance abuse and mental health, community health, and cultural adaptation and creation of evidence based interventions;2) Conducting community assessments to identify needs, strengths, priorities, and community readiness to change and 3) Implementing and evaluating a pilot intervention(s) which will be developed in response to the first two aims. This work is essential in building capacity between partners while having deep and meaningful ties to our communities aimed at improving quality of life for rural Al communities. Our investigators, be they academics, community members, educators, or health service providers, are fully invested in the communities with which they work, and their commitment goes a long way to ensuring reciprocity and respect among all parties involved in the research. Efforts described in this application are anticipated to enhance the CPBR approach in Al communities, as well as to provide an intervention targeting substance abuse and mental health in Al adolescents that can be adapted and replicated for other Al communities.
This application seeks support to establish a community based participatory research partnership to help close the gap in health disparities that exist in American Indian (Al) communities. Specifically, this inter-professional partnership will conduct research to address existing health disparities in the areas of mental health and substance use disorders among Al adolescents.