Online Program

We are meditating and working on our beadwork, thinking, man, ‘I just made this, I never knew I could do that!': Assessing the positive impacts of an Athabascan Beading Program

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Ellen Lopez, MPH, PhD, Psychology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Freda Williams, Community Services Department, Fairbanks Native Association, Fairbanks, AK
Crystal Lor, BA, Tigarg, OR
Dinghy Sharma, MA, UAF Psychology Department, CLA, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Ashley Strauch, BA, Fairbanks
Michael Koskey, PhD, Center for Cross-Cultural Studies, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK
Hopeful Connections is a collaborative research and intervention support program for Alaska Native cancer survivors, caregivers and loved ones. Hopeful Connections is facilitated within a long-standing partnership between The Fairbanks Native Association and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A cornerstone of Hopeful Connections is a weekly Beading Program that brings together traditional beaders to create Athabascan beaded pins that are gifted to other survivors as a message of hope. While enjoying beading and refreshments participants openly share not only beading materials and techniques, but also health related concerns and advice.  Our presentation will discuss a mixed methods study conducted to assess the impact of the Beading Program on participants’ sense of mastery, self-esteem, and social connectedness. Through participant observation along with a single (pre- and post-6-week) group design that involved nine Alaska Native beaders completing standardized measures and a focus group, several positive impacts of beading were identified. Outcome measures revealed increases in mastery, self-esteem and social connectedness. Further, focus group participants expressed perspectives on beading, including:  Beading as a stress reliever; The importance of beading for a purpose (“Giving somebody else a pin is important to us”); How beading can impact health (“It [beading] kept me away from smoking and tobacco.”); and The potential of beading to help others (“I think suicide rates would be lower if there were supportive beading groups for young people.”).  We will conclude by discussing further research being conducted to elucidate how specific aspects of beading can be integrated into prevention and survivorship efforts.   

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the Hopeful Connections’ Beading Program and its community-driven objective to share a message of hope with cancer survivors, caregivers, and loved ones. Explain the significance of traditional Athabascan beading as an art form that is passed between generations and evokes the distinct styles of diverse Athabascan tribal communities. Demonstrate the strengths of using mixed-methods research to assess the positive aspects of a culturally-grounded program for cancer survivors and caregivers.

Keyword(s): Cancer, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified because I have conducted community-based participatory research in the area of cancer survivorship for the past 20 years. For over five years I have partnered with Interior Alaska Native individuals, organizations and communities on developing a culturally responsive cancer support research and support program which comprises the research being presented at the 2015 APHA meetings.
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.