240926 Effective use of collaborations in building capacity of grassroots indigenous health programs

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bonney Hartley, MSocSci, Manager, Seva Foundation Native American Community Health Program , Native American Community Health Program, Seva Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Purpose: Philanthropic and other "outside" organizations often experience institutional barriers to successful collaboration with grassroots Native health initiatives. In 2010, Seva Foundation's Native American Community Health program (NACH), mindful of this gap, established partnerships with three distinct underserved communities. The collaborations targeted increasing healthy foods through restoration of subsistence hunting and gardening. The goal was to achieve healthy indigenous communities implementing their own solutions, rooted in Native worldviews and values. Data & Methods: The program adopted a tripartite program model of technical assistance, advocacy, and resource-based partnerships. Seva played a hands-on role in developing culturally-based program assessment tools and indigenous evaluation workshops. The data collection and analysis was co-conducted with Seva's partner organizations and constituents as a form of community-based participatory research. Results: In one year of the new program approach and with relatively limited funding, quantitative data shows more than 2,900 community members were involved. Over 43,000 lbs. of traditional food sources were harvested and shared by Inupiaq communities in 11 Alaskan villages; 60 varieties of traditional plants were recovered in an urban Native community in Oakland, and approximately 20,400 square feet of gardening space was created at Yankton Reservation in South Dakota. Qualitative data also suggests impact in participant knowledge and abilities. Conclusion and recommendations: Community health and development programs, with cultural competency and promotion of community-based and community-led collaborations at their core, can impact underserved communities effectively and positively. Such collaborations maintain integrity of service profession, respect underserved communities and ensure sustainable relations of the involved parties.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify three characteristics for building effective collaborations between Native community health projects and philanthropic institutions. Compare community-based and community-led healthy food solutions to combat health disparities in three distinct contexts. Discuss cultural issues involved in impact evaluation with Native American/Indigenous communities.

Keywords: Indigenous Populations, Community Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I manage a Native American community health program that focuses on community-based management of preventable diseases such as Type II Diabetes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.