Improving Health Outcomes in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities: Why Investment from Local Stakeholders is Crucial to the Tribal Consultation Process
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) peoples experience significant health disparities in comparison to the general United States population. This is complicated by the fact that AI/AN communities’ health concerns are often not addressed equitably compared to other racial/ethnic minority populations. The aim of this paper is to review concerns about AI/AN peoples’ health within the context of existing tribal consultation processes in the United States federal government. Tribal consultation is important in building on-going channels of communication between the federal government and the 567 federally recognized tribes. Suggestions are made about best practices that would better utilize the consultation process to improve health for indigenous peoples. The main conclusion of this research is that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) tribal consultation process needs to include community-based participatory research (CBPR) and health promotion practices, which directly involve local stakeholders, because it will lead to better outcomes for American Indian/Alaskan Native communities.
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