Given the high rates for substance use among women and men of childbearing age, perinatal and early childhood home-visiting programs serving tribal communities must consider how they will address substance-use problems among the families they support. In this study, we explored the approaches to identifying and addressing family-based substance-use problems that were implemented by nine home-visiting programs serving American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities that are funded through the federal Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (Tribal MIECHV). These programs demonstrated a high awareness of substance-use problems and took concrete action to address them above and beyond that included in the home-visiting model they used. All nine programs reported that they provided substance-use preventive services and screened for substance-use problems. While all programs referred to substance-use treatment programs when needed, in six programs the home visitor provided substance-use services. Through Tribal MIECHV, the intense need for substance-use education, assessment, service delivery, and referral in many AI/AN communities is pushing the home-visiting field forward to address this increasingly critical issue for low-income families across the United States and the world.
The research that underlies evidence-based practices is often based on relatively homogenous study samples, thus limiting our ability to understand how the study findings apply in new situations as well as our understanding of what might need to be adapted. In a preliminary effort to address those gaps, the requirements for the Tribal Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) included the expectation that grantees design and implement rigorous evaluations to address local priorities and to help build the knowledge base regarding the use of evidence-based home-visiting programs in tribal communities. A priority that emerged across many Tribal MIECHV grantees was to determine the added benefit of the cultural adaptations that they were making to their home-visiting programs. While there is literature to describe recommended processes for making cultural adaptations to evidence-based programs themselves, there are very few guidelines for evaluating these adaptations. In this article, we review the varied evaluation approaches utilized by Tribal MIECHV grantees and provide three case examples of how evaluators and tribal communities worked together to articulate evaluation questions and choose appropriate and feasible evaluation designs. The lessons derived from these Tribal MIECHV evaluation experiences have implications for the role of the evaluator in diverse communities across the country evaluating home visiting and other evidence-based practices in settings characterized by unique cultural contexts.
Indigenous communities across the Alaskan Arctic have experienced profound revisions of livelihood, culture, and autonomy over the past century of colonization, creating radical discontinuities between the lives of young people and those of their parents and Elders. The disrupted processes of identity development, access to livelihoods, and cross-generational mentorship associated with colonialism have created complex challenges for youth as they envision and enact viable paths forward in the context of a rapidly changing Arctic home. In this study, we consider the meanings associated with different constructions of culture and selfhood, and the ways in which these identity narratives position Inupiaq Alaskan Native youth in relation to their personal and collective futures. Through an intergenerational and participatory inquiry process, this study explores how representations of shared heritage, present-day struggles, resilience, and hope can expand possibilities for youth and thus impact individual and community health.
The goal of this current descriptive study was to examine the roles and relationships of evaluators with the tribal communities in which they work. First, we describe a participatory community research model with a strong capacity-building component as the standard for assessing successful working partnerships between evaluators, programs, tribes, and tribal organizations. This model serves as a yardstick against which we examine the success and challenges of program-evaluation partnerships. Second, we report on a survey of tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program leaders and outline their impressions of successes and challenges related to program-evaluation partnerships. Survey participants discussed the importance of working with evaluators who have deep investment in and understanding of the tribal community; respect for cultural relevance and honor for cultural ways; collaboration that includes transparency, trust, and translation of research for community leaders and members; a focus on strength-based design without losing the need to consider challenges; and relationships of mutual trust that can weather addressing stressors when issues of conflict, limited resources, and/or mixed expectations arise.
Humans are exposed to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from diverse sources and this has been associated with negative health impacts. Advances in analytical methods have enabled routine detection of more than 15 PFASs in human sera, allowing better profiling of PFAS exposures. The composition of PFASs in human sera reflects the complexity of exposure sources but source identification can be confounded by differences in toxicokinetics affecting uptake, distribution, and elimination. Common PFASs, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and their precursors are ubiquitous in multiple exposure sources. However, their composition varies among sources, which may impact associated adverse health effects.
We use available PFAS concentrations from several demographic groups in a North Atlantic seafood consuming population (Faroe Islands) to explore whether chemical fingerprints in human sera provide insights into predominant exposure sources. We compare serum PFAS profiles from Faroese individuals to other North American populations to investigate commonalities in potential exposure sources. We compare individuals with similar demographic and physiological characteristics and samples from the same years to reduce confounding by toxicokinetic differences and changing environmental releases.
Using principal components analysis (PCA) confirmed by hierarchical clustering, we assess variability in serum PFAS concentrations across three Faroese groups. The first principal component (PC)/cluster consists of C9-C12 perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) and is consistent with measured PFAS profiles in consumed seafood. The second PC/cluster includes perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and the PFOS precursor N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamidoacetate (N-EtFOSAA), which are directly used or metabolized from fluorochemicals in consumer products such as carpet and food packaging. We find that the same compounds are associated with the same exposure sources in two North American populations, suggesting generalizability of results from the Faroese population.
We conclude that PFAS homologue profiles in serum provide valuable information on major exposure sources. It is essential to compare samples collected at similar time periods and to correct for demographic groups that are highly affected by differences in physiological processes (e.g., pregnancy). Information on PFAS homologue profiles is crucial for attributing adverse health effects to the proper mixtures or individual PFASs.
CONTEXTUAL ISSUES FOR IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION OF HOME-VISITATION PROGRAMS FOR AMERICAN INDIAN AND ALASKA NATIVE COMMUNITIES: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE TRIBAL MATERNAL, INFANT, AND EARLY CHILDHOOD HOME VISITING PROGRAM.
Home-visiting programs have become a key component of evidence-based services for pregnant women, new mothers, their infants, and their families. When Congress authorized the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) in 2010, it set aside 3% of the $1.5 billion in funding to support home-visiting programs operated by tribes, Tribal MIECHV programs have been funded in 14 states and have served over 3,100 families, providing nearly 55,000 home visits to families at risk for poor child, maternal, and family outcomes. In this Introduction to the Special Issue of the Infant Mental Health Journal on the Tribal MIECHV initiative, we provide some key contexts of the work of the Tribal MIECHV grantees as well as an overview of the issues covered in the other articles.
The Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (Tribal MIECHV) Program provides federal grants to tribes, tribal consortia, tribal organizations, and urban Indian organizations to implement evidence-based home-visiting services for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) families. To date, only one evidence-based home-visiting program has been developed for use in AI/AN communities. The purpose of this article is to describe the steps that four Tribal MIECHV Programs took to assess community needs, select a home-visiting model, and culturally adapt the model for use in AI/AN communities. In these four unique Tribal MIECHV Program settings, each program employed a rigorous needs-assessment process and developed cultural modifications in accordance with community strengths and needs. Adaptations occurred in consultation with model developers, with consideration of the conceptual rationale for the program, while grounding new content in indigenous cultures. Research is needed to improve measurement of home-visiting outcomes in tribal and urban AI/AN settings, develop culturally grounded home-visiting interventions, and assess the effectiveness of home visiting in AI/AN communities.
The population of Greenland is diminishing and environmental and social shifts implicate food availability and the health of reproductive age women. There is little knowledge of the grocery store food environment in Greenland. To address this gap and provide baseline information the present study measured food availability in five grocery stores in northern Greenland. As well, 15 interviews were conducted with reproductive age women, three grocery store managers were interviewed and one interview was conducted with a food distribution manager. Results show few fresh fruits and vegetables are available in grocery stores and in some stores no fresh foods are available. In Kullorsuaq, the primary location for this study, the Nutrition Environment Measures Survey in Stores score in spring 2016 was (3/30) and the Freedman Grocery Store Survey Score was (11/49). Interview results highlight a need to increase communication within the food system and to tailor food distribution policies to the Arctic context with longer term planning protocols for food distribution. These findings can be used to inform future food store environment research in Greenland and for informing policies that improve healthful food availability in grocery stores in northern Greenland.
Helicobacter pylori infection is common among Alaska native (AN) people, however scant gastric histopathologic data is available for this population. This study aimed to characterise gastric histopathology and H. pylori infection among AN people. We enrolled AN adults undergoing upper endoscopy. Gastric biopsy samples were evaluated for pathologic changes, the presence of H. pylori, and the presence of cag pathogenicity island-positive bacteria. Of 432 persons; two persons were diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma, two with MALT lymphoma, 40 (10%) with ulcers, and 51 (12%) with intestinal metaplasia. Fifty-five per cent of H. pylori-positive persons had cag pathogenicity island positive bacteria. The gastric antrum had the highest prevalence of acute and chronic moderate-severe gastritis. H. pylori-positive persons were 16 and four times more likely to have moderate-severe acute gastritis and chronic gastritis (p
Faroe islanders consume marine foods contaminated with methylmercury (MeHg), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other toxicants associated with chronic disease risks. Differential DNA methylation at specific CpG sites in cord blood may serve as a surrogate biomarker of health impacts from chemical exposures. We aimed to identify key environmental chemicals in cord blood associated with DNA methylation changes in a population with elevated exposure to chemical mixtures. We studied 72 participants of a Faroese birth cohort recruited between 1986 and 1987 and followed until adulthood. The cord blood DNA methylome was profiled using Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. We determined the associations of CpG site changes with concentrations of MeHg, major PCBs, other organochlorine compounds [hexachlorobenzene (HCB), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane], and perfluoroalkyl substances. In a combined sex analysis, among the 16 chemicals studied, PCB congener 105 (CB-105) exposure was associated with the majority of differentially methylated CpG sites (214 out of a total of 250). In female-only analysis, only 73 CB-105 associated CpG sites were detected, 44 of which were mapped to genes in the ELAV1-associated cancer network. In males-only, methylation changes were seen for perfluorooctane sulfonate, HCB, and p,p'-DDE in 10,598, 1,238, and 1,473 CpG sites, respectively, 15% of which were enriched in cytobands of the X-chromosome associated with neurological disorders. In this multiple-pollutant and genome-wide study, we identified key epigenetic toxicants. The significant enrichment of specific X-chromosome sites in males implies potential sex-specific epigenome responses to prenatal chemical exposures.