Perceptions of environment and health among community members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR)
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Purpose: Indigenous cultures have broad perspectives about what constitutes good health and well-being, and understand that the natural environment is an essential link between traditional cultural practices, social connectedness, identity, and health. Given the complexity of how indigenous cultures view health and how it relates to the environment, qualitative methods, such as focus groups, are important data gathering tools to better understand and reflect the values and perspectives of their community members. The purpose of our study was to identify the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) members' perspectives about health and its connections with the environment to identify both the positive elements that can be enhanced and the negative stressors that can be reduced Methods: Three 90-minute focus group sessions with a total of 27 participants were used to elicit feedback on meanings of health and how the environment interacts with health. A systematic text analysis approach was used to derive themes across focus groups. Findings: A holistic view of good health for individuals and the community was expressed, including environmental, physical, mental, spiritual, and social components. A healthy natural environment was identified as an essential component of a healthy community. Participants shared a number of environmental health concerns, including second-hand smoke, outdoor smoke, diesel exhaust, mold, pesticides, toxic wastes from the Hanford nuclear site and methamphetamine labs, and contaminated natural foods. Many believe that there is a causal link between the identified environmental concerns and the health issues of community members. Conclusion: The environment is an important resource to CTUIR members and plays an integral role in achieving and maintaining health among its community members. Environmental risk assessors need to integrate such perspectives into their appraisals in order to better reflect the values and concerns of community members.
Administration, management, leadership
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
List key components of individual and community health as CTUIR members describe it.
Describe CTUIR members’ perspectives on how the physical environment relates to the health and traditions of community members.
Identify key concerns of environmental pollutants and associated threats to health raised by CTUIR members.
Keyword(s): American Indians, Community Health
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the primary researcher analyzing the data for this study and have been working with this community on several research projects.
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.