American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth report higher rates of alcohol and drug (AOD) use, greater frequency and intensity of AOD use, earlier first AOD use, and much higher alcohol-related mortality than other racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. Data regarding urban AIs/ANs are limited; however, one study found that at-risk AIs/AN adults in an urban setting report an earlier onset of alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, and other drug use compared to all other ethnic/racial groups within LA County. This proposal responds to PAR-11-346, Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Native American Populations, which is focused on developing, adapting, and testing the effectiveness of health promotion prevention interventions in Native American populations. The two Co-PIs provide a unique blend of expertise that has resulted in the development of an innovative preliminary protocol for AI/AN youth: Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY), which integrates traditional healing approaches with motivational interviewing (MI). Dickerson is an Alaska Native (Inupiaq) new investigator who worked with the AI/AN community to obtain community-based perspectives on decreasing AOD use and mental health problems. D'Amico is internationally recognized for her work focused on the development and testing of MI interventions targeting AOD use for culturally diverse adolescents across different settings. Dickerson and colleagues have demonstrated the need for culturally-appropriate interventions for AI/AN youth. His two community-based projects found that there is a lack of programs integrating tradition-based healing with evidenced based treatments (EBTs), and this was cited as a significant barrier to seeking care within urban AI/AN populations. Therefore, MICUNAY will integrate tradition-based healing with MI. It consists of 6 weekly 1-hour sessions (3 MI AOD sessions and 3 tradition activity sessions). Our proposal also incorporates a multi-system intervention approach. At the individual level, we will provide MICUNAY to urban AI/AN youth. At the community level, we will discuss AOD use and AOD prevention among AI/AN youth at existing Community Wellness Gatherings (CWG). The proposed 5-year study will consist of two main components: 1) A Developmental Phase in which we conduct focus groups across two clinical sites in Los Angeles and Oakland with the community to establish feasibility and sustainability of delivery, 2) A randomized controlled trial comparing youth who only attend a CWG (n=100) to youth who attend a CWG plus receive MICUNAY (n=100). We will compare outcomes at 3- and 6-month follow-up to determine (a) whether clinically significant changes in AOD expectancies, perceived prevalence of peer AOD use, alcohol consumption, marijuana and other drug use, and related consequences occur; (b) whether clinically significant changes in physical, social, emotional, and functional well-being as well as spirituality and cultural identification occur, and (c) if reductions occur, estimate effec sizes for the CWG group and the CWG plus MICUNAY group. Our study substantially extends work with AI/AN youth by intervening at both the community and individual level, and developing and testing an integrated tradition-based AOD MI group intervention for urban AI/AN youth.

Public Health Relevance

We plan to develop and test a new alcohol and other drug (AOD) intervention for urban AI/AN youth, 'Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY),' integrating tradition-based activities and motivational interviewing (MI) at both the community and individual levels. At the individual level, we will provide MICUNAY to adolescents; at the community level, we will provide discussion of AOD prevention at Community Wellness Gatherings (CWGs). This work is important because we will gain an understanding of how well a tradition-based healing program that integrates MI works to prevent AOD use among urban AI/AN youth.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Godette, Dionne
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Rand Corporation
Santa Monica
United States
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Dickerson, Daniel; Baldwin, Julie A; Belcourt, Annie et al. (2018) Encompassing Cultural Contexts Within Scientific Research Methodologies in the Development of Health Promotion Interventions. Prev Sci :
Blue Bird Jernigan, Valarie; D'Amico, Elizabeth J; Duran, Bonnie et al. (2018) Multilevel and Community-Level Interventions with Native Americans: Challenges and Opportunities. Prev Sci :
Brown, Ryan A; Dickerson, Daniel L; D'Amico, Elizabeth J (2016) Cultural Identity Among Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth: Implications for Alcohol and Drug Use. Prev Sci 17:852-61
Dickerson, Daniel L; Brown, Ryan A; Johnson, Carrie L et al. (2016) Integrating Motivational Interviewing and Traditional Practices to Address Alcohol and Drug Use Among Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youth. J Subst Abuse Treat 65:26-35
Moghaddam, Jacquelene F; Yoon, Gihyun; Dickerson, Daniel L et al. (2015) Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in five groups with different severities of gambling: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Am J Addict 24:292-8