The American Indian/ Alaskan Native (AI/AN) population is considered as an “invisible minority” as their health concerns are not addressed equitably compared to other racial/ ethnic minority populations. AI/AN individuals face high rates of nutritional challenges and chronic health conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this paper is to review concerns about AI/AN health disparities and to propose strategies to reduce disparities. This is achieved by reviewing the evidence for health disparities experienced by AI/AN populations. The U.S. government has been working to improve health disparities for AI/AN individuals, through a number of federally run programs. We propose that one important strategy to reduce health disparities is use a community-based participatory research approach (CBPR). Because of the local input, CBPR is a powerful tool for addressing health disparities experienced by AI/AN populations. We further propose that CPBR should be focused on tribal consultation in policymaking, an increase in AI/AN stakeholders, and health disparities in lifestyle issues for AI/ AN people living in urban areas, in addition to reservations.
Miranda Jones, Shannon Weaver, Samin Panahi, Akiko Kamimura