Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Cornelia Santos - University of Colorado Denver
American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) face poor survival rates due to medical illness that are contrary to the progress and improvements typical of modern medicine (Pfefferbaum, Pfefferbaum, Rhoades, & Strickland, 1997). Resilience within a health disparity context is defined as, “The ability to move forward like a willow with renewed energy, with a positive outlook with attainable goals to achieve one’s dreams, and overcome negative life experiences from current and past political and historical events, with the goal to reduce health disparities …” (CAIR 2016). Hypothesis: Resilience skills can be adopted by American Indians with chronic diseases with peer modeling and supportive one on one coaching. Methods/Controls: Resilience skills were introduced and modeled biweekly among a sample of American Indian patients with diagnosed chronic diseases for two eight-week sessions. Skills combined both traditional Native and Western medicine approaches focusing on spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Two Native Patient Navigators initiated the project and peer advisers were available for each session to reinforce behaviors. Biweekly introduction of new skills combined with one on one coaching follow-up calls reinforced participant adoption of new behaviors. Topics for healthy resilience behaviors included how to talk with healthcare providers, how to ask for support from family, friends and/or employer, how to find accurate health information, how to increase physical activity and nutrition, what are emotional support and strategies to increase one’s personal emotional support. Collected data consisted of field notes, supporting documents, beginning and ending surveys and in-depth commentaries. Results: Introduction of “Energy Balance” began the program with an increase of new knowledge for participants. Participants indicated increases of resilience skills and adoption of new behaviors. This follow-up study with Native Navigators facilitated resilience skill modeling and expanded an initial resiliency project with American Indian cancer survivors to an extended population of American Indians with chronic diseases. Conclusion: This project explores an effective solution to the current health disparities crises in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Future Research: This research may hold the keys to addressing chronic health disparities in other ethnic/racial and rural populations. Acknowledgements: University of Colorado; Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR).Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Center for American Indian Resilence
Faculty Advisor: Alan Davis, Alan.Davis@ucdenver.edu
Role: The presenter is the sole researcher.