Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a major public health concern among American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Primary care clinics are often the first point of contact for American Indian and Alaska Natives seeking health care and are feasible locations for trauma-focused interventions.
Web-based therapeutic interventions have the potential to reduce PTSD symptoms by offering psychoeducation and symptom self-management tools. We investigated the feasibility of a culturally adapted Web-based therapeutic intervention in two American Indian and Alaska Native-serving primary care sites. We developed and tested a self-guided Web-based therapeutic intervention aimed at improving knowledge and awareness of, and provision of guidance, support, and symptom-management for, PTSD symptoms.
A community-based participatory research process was used to refine adaptations to the veteran's administration's PTSD Coach Online, to develop new content, and to guide and interpret the results of the feasibility pilot. This process resulted in a 16-guide intervention "Health is Our Tradition: Balance and Harmony after Trauma" website. The feasibility pilot included 24 American Indian and Alaska Natives aged 18 years and older who scored positive on a primary care PTSD screener. Enrolled participants completed a demographic questionnaire, an experience with technology questionnaire, and baseline behavioral health measures. Once measures were complete, research staff described weekly text messages, minimum study expectations for website use, and demonstrated how to use the website. Feasibility measures included self-reported website use, ratings of satisfaction and perceived effectiveness, and website metrics. Feasibility of obtaining measures for an effectiveness trial was also assessed to include behavioral health symptoms and service utilization through self-report instruments and electronic health record queries. Self-reported measures were collected at enrollment and at 6 and 12 weeks post enrollment. Electronic health records were collected from 12 months before study enrollment to 3 months following study enrollment. Changes between enrollment and follow-up were examined with paired t tests, analysis of variance or logistic regression, or the Wilcoxon signed rank test for nonnormally distributed data.
The culturally adapted website and associated text message reminders were perceived as satisfactory and effective by participants with no differences by age or gender. The majority of participants (86%, 19/24) reported use of the website at 6 weeks and nearly all (91%, 20/22) at 12 weeks. At 6 weeks, 55% (12/22) of participants reported using the website at the recommended intensity (at least three times weekly), dropping to 36% (8/22) at 12 weeks. Participant use of modules varied from 8% (2/24) to 100% (24/24), with guide completion rates being greater for guides that were only psychoeducational in nature compared with guides that were interactive. There were no significant changes in patterns of diagnoses, screening, medications, or service utilization during exposure to the website.
"Health is Our Tradition: Balance and Harmony after Trauma" shows promise for an effectiveness pilot.
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people experience high rates of acute, chronic, and intergenerational trauma. Traumatic experiences often increase the risk of both medical and behavioral health problems making primary care settings opportune places to screen for trauma exposure or symptomology. The objective of this study was to determine considerations and recommendations provided by patients, health care providers, health care administrators, and tribal leaders in the development of an adult trauma screening, brief intervention, and referral for treatment process to pilot at two large AI/AN primary care systems. A qualitative and iterative data collection and analysis process was undertaken using a community-based participatory research approach guided by a cross-site steering committee. Twenty-four leaders and providers participated in individual interviews, and 13 patients participated in four focus groups. Data were thematically analyzed to select a trauma screening instrument, develop a screening process, and develop brief intervention materials. The nature of traumas experienced in the AI/AN community, the need to develop trusting patient-provider relationships, and the human resources available at each site drove the screening, brief intervention, and referral process decisions for a future trauma screening pilot in these health systems.
Dr. Rieckmann is with the School of Public Health, Oregon Health and Science University-Portland State University, Portland. Ms. Moore, Dr. Croy, and Dr. Novins are with the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado, Aurora. Dr. Novins is also with the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Aurora. Dr. Aarons is with the Department of Psychiatry and the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, University of California, San Diego.
American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) experience higher rates of substance use disorders and less access to high-quality care compared with other racial-ethnic groups. The objective of this study was to better understand the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of substance use disorders for AI/ANs and barriers to broader implementation.
Representatives of 192 substance abuse treatment programs completed a survey about their use of MAT. On the basis of implementation science frameworks, the authors examined survey items about program structure, workforce, and other services provided in order to develop logistic regression models that explored significant associations between workforce and program characteristics and use of MAT.
Of the 192 programs, 28% reported implementing MAT. Multivariate logistic regression models indicated that programs with staff that perceived MAT to be consistent with their program's treatment approach and philosophy and programs reporting that MAT fit with staff expertise and training were more likely to implement MAT. Programs with nurses on staff and those reporting a perceived gap in the use of evidence-based treatments (EBTs) were less likely to implement MAT.
Low rates of MAT implementation suggest racial disparities in access to MAT among AI/ANs, a population with historically high rates of substance use disorders. Study findings also highlight the important role of treatment culture and organizational fit in the implementation of MAT in treatment programs serving AI/AN populations. Results also speak to the importance of adapting existing EBTs in a culturally competent way to best serve the needs of the AI/AN community.
For populations with high rates of trauma exposure yet low behavioural health service use, identifying and addressing trauma in the primary care setting could improve health outcomes, reduce disability and increase the efficiency of health system resources.
To assess the acceptability and feasibility of a screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) process for trauma and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among American Indian and Alaska Native people. We also examine the short-term effects on service utilization and the screening accuracy of the Primary Care Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Screen.
Cross-sectional pilot in two tribal primary care settings. Surveys and interviews measured acceptability among patients and providers. Health service utilization was used to examine impact. Structured clinical interview and a functional disability measure were used to assess screening accuracy.
Over 90% of patient participants (N = 99) reported the screening time was acceptable, the questions were easily understood, the right staff were involved and the process satisfactory. Ninety-nine percent would recommend the process. Participants screening positive had higher behavioural health utilization in the 3 months after the process than those screening negative. The Primary Care Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Screen was 100% sensitive to detect current PTSD with 51% specificity. Providers and administrators reported satisfaction with the process.
The SBIRT process shows promise for identifying and addressing trauma in primary care settings. Future research should explore site specific factors, cost analyses and utility compared to other behavioural health screenings.
BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that American Indian (AI) populations may be at increased risk for problems with alcohol, but a lack of community-based research using diagnostic criteria has constrained our ability to draw inferences about the extent of severe alcohol problems, such as dependence, in AI populations. METHODS: This article draws on data collected by the American Indian Service Utilization, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Risk and Protective Factors Project (AI-SUPERPFP), which involved interviews with 3084 AI people living on or near their reservations. The AI-SUPERPFP sample was drawn from two culturally distinct tribes, which were designated with geographical descriptions: Northern Plains (NP) and Southwest (SW). Comparisons with data collected by the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS) were explored by using shared measures to situate the findings from AI-SUPERPFP in a national context. RESULTS: Lifetime rates of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence for men in both AI-SUPERPFP samples were 50% higher than those found in the NCS. Rates of lifetime alcohol dependence for women varied by sample, however; NP women had twice the rate of women in the NCS, but SW women had rates quite similar to those of NCS women. Patterns for 12-month alcohol dependence in AI-SUPERPFP were generally more similar to those found in NCS. CONCLUSIONS: The rates of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence found in AI-SUPERPFP were generally higher than US averages and justify continued attention and concern to alcohol problems in AI communities, but they are not nearly as high as those in other reports in the literature that rely on less stringent sampling methods. Furthermore, significant sociocultural influences on the correlates of alcohol dependence in AI communities are evident in these data, underscoring the need to appreciate the complex and varying influences on the patterning of alcohol problems in the diverse cultural contexts of the US.
Introduction:Alaska Native communities experience high rates of alcohol and substance abuse and face challenges accessing quality, culturally appropriate treatment. Telepsychiatry could help bridge this gap, but no publications have examined its impacts for alcohol and substance abuse treatment directed at Alaska Native communities. This study explores one telepsychiatry clinic's impact on a residential substance abuse treatment serving the Alaska Native community in Anchorage, Alaska.Methods:Using a matched case-control design, 103 cases receiving telepsychiatry services between 2007 and 2012 were matched with 103 controls who did not. Outcome measures included length of stay, discharge plans, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions; clinical history, including previous suicide attempts, history of violence, and trauma history; social stressors such as current legal issues, unemployment, and homelessness; mental health, medical, and substance abuse diagnoses; and number of telepsychiatry appointments and nature of telepsychiatry services rendered.Results:Both groups exhibited high rates of mental and medical illness, socioeconomic challenges, and substance abuse. However, the telepsychiatry group demonstrated a significantly higher rate of post-traumatic stress disorder, history of violence, ongoing legal issues, and children in outside custody. It also remained engaged in treatment longer, had fewer discharges against medical advice, and was more likely to complete treatment.Discussion/Conclusions:Our study highlights this telepsychiatry clinic's real-world difference serving the complex substance abuse treatment needs of Alaska Native individuals. It also reinforces telepsychiatry's promise in serving other communities facing a high burden of addiction and mental illness yet facing barriers to high-quality, culturally competent services.