Blog: National Partnership for Action
Eliminating health disparities among American Indian and Alaska Native Men: The first step is awareness
Posted on 6/14/2013 by Leo Nolan
The health of American boys and men – particularly those of color – remains a significant, long-standing public health challenge. Few social problems in our society affect so many people yet are so often overlooked. Disparities in health and wellness among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) men compared to women and other U.S. racial and ethnic groups on some measures are extreme and the evidence suggests the gap is worsening.
Based on this awareness, a growing group of interested stakeholders from all levels of American society coordinated by the Men's Health Network is embracing the notion that solving health disparities among males demands a concerted effort. Doing so now is even more urgent in light of the health reform spawned by the Affordable Care Act and a recent study of minority men's health .
Several specific causes of death contribute to the higher mortality rates of AI/AN males compared to AI/AN females. The following are noteworthy among the AI/AN population for some age groups:
The reasons for the health, well-being and life expectancy disparities are complex and remain poorly understood. A recent comprehensive review of the literature of programs and intervention studies specifically targeting AI/AN males revealed a virtual absence of data. The research that would lead us to better understand the causes of inequality, and test approaches to address them, has simply not been undertaken. Existing evidence suggests that social determinants such as historical trauma, loss of social roles and cultural connection, poverty and unemployment may have greater adverse health effects on AI/AN men than women. But to date, no effective, overarching efforts to study the root causes and develop AI/AN male-focused interventions to support better health outcomes have been put forward.
Despite this discouraging history, now is the most opportune time to address AI/AN male health disparities and break the cycle of suffering.
The first step to realizing these outcomes is increasing awareness. Toward this goal, a two-pronged media approach is being coordinated under the auspices of the Men's Health Network - beginning with the production of a series of awareness-building Webinars targeting public health professionals and interested stakeholders at all levels. Entitled Partnering for Wellness: Charting a Course to Hope, Healing, and Health for Native Males and Their Families, the initial Webinar of this series will be presented during Men's Health Month on June 13 at 1 p.m., and will provide an overview of the magnitude and nature AI/AN male health disparities. Follow-up Webinars will explore more specific topic areas relating to the health disparities of Native Males (including Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders), outline emerging best practices, explore opportunities to systematically target and test approaches to reach Native males more effectively, and identify needed advocacy.
Join us for the June 13 webinar , Partnering for Wellness: Charting a Course to Hope, Healing, and Health for Native Males and Their Families. No pre-registration is necessary.
Posted in: Health Health Disparities | Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
By Twila Martin Kekahbah on
What a pleasant surprise to finally read something on AI/AN. Leo Nolan's is an excellent source of information specific to our tribal populations, hopefully his knowledge will continued to be solicited from OMH/NPA/CDC/ etc.
By Freda Gipp on
Current and reliable information on AI/AN males on health, education, etc., is hard to find. Primarily I have located information on minority males and often AI/AN people are not counted. My premise in locating and collecting data and materials related to AI/AN males focus is education. I believe the state of one's mental/physical/emotional well-being impacts our success in school. Your blog on health is interesting and parallels to current information I have located which has been primarily on education. I missed the webinar but would like to receive a transcript or materials if possible. Thank you in advance, Freda Gipp
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About the Blog
The NPA works to achieve health equity -- the highest level of health for all people. This blog is a venue for professionals from all fields and sectors to share their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events pertaining to health equity. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
About the Author
Leo Nolan has more than 40 years experience in Indian health care and education. He retired from IHS in 2011 after 25 years the last 12 as the external affairs director. He is an enrolled member of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe and grew up at the territory of the Onondaga Nation.
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