Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country, 2019 – 2024

Background

In 2019, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc., (ITCA) Health & Human Services Department was awarded a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant titled, “Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (1903)”.

The purpose of the grant is to reduce the rates of death and disability from diabetes, commercial tobacco use, heart disease, stroke, and reduce the prevalence of obesity and preventing other chronic disease risk factors among American Indians in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

The long-term outcomes of the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC) Project are listed below:

  • Increased purchasing of healthy foods and physical activity with an emphasis on walking
  • Increased breastfeeding
  • Reduced prevalence of commercial tobacco use
  • Reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduced prevalence of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol

ITCA funded 12 Tribes in the Phoenix and Tucson Area IHS Region (Arizona, Nevada, and Utah) to implement the grant strategies within their Tribe. All other Tribes (non-sub grantees) in the Phoenix-Tucson IHS Area Tribes and Urban Indian Organizations will be invited to participate in annual work group meetings and webinars.  ITCA will provide resources, technical assistance and subject matter experts to share their experiences and resources at annual meetings and webinars.

What’s in it for the Tribal members?

This funding focuses on activities to improve the health of Tribal communities and listed below are specific examples that address some of the long term outcomes from above.

If the completion of a policy tracking assessment shows that a Tribe does not have a breastfeeding policy, then a breastfeeding policy can be developed for review and approval for Tribal infants and mothers.

  • Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear/respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome and gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting). Breastfeeding helps lower a mother’s risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.

If it is found through the policy tracking assessment that a Tribe does not have a healthy food policy for employees, then the Tribe can develop a healthy food or physical activity policy. For example, a healthy food policy would ensure only healthy foods are provided at Tribal community events, within schools for students, and during meetings for employees.

  • A healthy food policy will benefit Tribal members, to increase and encourage the consumption of healthy foods.
  • Instituting various community and school gardens to increase and encourage the consumption of healthy foods.
  • Placement of healthy food infographics within school cafeteria and employee lounges to promote the consumption of healthy foods.

If it is found through the policy tracking assessment that a Tribe does not have a referral system set up for tobacco cessation, pre-diabetes or hypertension services for Tribal members, then the Tribe will be able to set up a referral system.

  • A referral system can be implemented for ALL Tribal adult members to get screened for tobacco use, pre-diabetes, hypertension and, if needed, be referred to appropriate treatment services.

Through this GHWIC grant, the ITCA hopes to make a positive impact on the health of American Indians among all Tribes in the Phoenix and Tucson Area IHS Region (Arizona, Nevada, and Utah). If you have any questions please contact the staff listed below by calling 602-258-4822 or email the following program staff. Thank you.

Program Staff

Alida Montiel, Health & Human Services Director
alida.montiel@itcaonline.com

Glenda Tovar, Health Promotion Coordinator
glenda.tovar@itcaonline.com

Madison Fulton, Health Promotion Specialist
madison.fulton@itcaonline.com

Eric Hardy, Health Promotion Specialist
eric.hardy@itcaonline.com

Vanessa Dodge, Program Evaluator
vanessa.dodge@itcaonline.com