American Indians (Al) suffer some of the greatest health disparities among all racial/ethnic groups in the United States. In addition, Al are under-represented in research, particularly in clinical trials, and in higher education, including undergraduate programs, graduate programs, and medical school. To address these health disparities and bring more Al into the health professions, we propose the development of the Central Plains Center for American Indian Health Disparities (CPC-AIHD). Our long term goal is to reduce health disparities among Al in the Central Plains through quality community-based participatory research (CBPR) and enhanced opportunities for Al students to enter the health professions through pipeline programs from high school through college and into graduate and medical school.
Our Specific Aims for the CPC-AIHD are to: 1) To create an interdisciplinary, CBPR center for health disparities research in Al communities in the Central Plains;2) To provide methodologic support to health disparities researchers in the Center through quality-controlled biostatistics and data management;3) To create an educational pipeline for Al students from high school, through college, and into graduate schools in the health professions;and 4) To enlist the help of the local and regional Al communities in all parts of the research process through Community Advisory Boards and research staff. Over the past five years, the Program in American Indian Community Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center has developed and lead the creation of the American Indian Health Research and Education Alliance, an alliance of academic institutions, tribes, community organizations, and corporations/government entities, whose mission is to improve the health of Al through quality participatory research and education. The CPC-AIHD will build on our successful CBPR research team and alliance and will integrate existing, funded health disparities research with two new research projects. Our projects include 1) a mammography satisfaction project designed to determine how the mammography experience can be improved to encourage repeat mammography among Al women;and 2) an epidemiology study focused on smoking patterns among tribal college students to help determine why Al have the highest smoking rates of any racial/ethnic group in the US.
The CPC-AIHD addresses health disparities among Al, who face some of the greatest health disparities of any racial/ethnic group in the US and who have not historically been well represented in medical research or education in the health professions. The center builds on our successful CBPR addressing a variety of health issues and focuses on two major health issues among Al, smoking and mammography. Al have the highest rates of smoking and rising incidence and disproportionate mortality for breast cancer.
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