Alaska Native women have encountered many obstacles in the health care system which deter them from adhering to cancer screening recommendations. To improve access, it was necessary for us to listen to them and their attitudes about health care. As a result of this assessment, we changed our approach resulting in an overall increase in screening rates from 14% to 62%. A case example is presented to demonstrate barriers to cancer screening and our techniques for overcoming them.
Lack of access to care, funding limitations, cultural, and social barriers are challenges specific to tribal communities that have led to adverse cancer outcomes among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). While the cancer navigator model has been shown to be effective in other underserved communities, it has not been widely implemented in Indian Country. We conducted in-depth interviews with 40 AI/AN patients at tribal clinics in Idaho and Oregon. We developed the survey instrument in partnership with community members to ensure a culturally appropriate semi-structured questionnaire. Questions explored barriers to accessing care, perceptions of the navigator program, satisfaction, and recommendations. AI/AN cancer patients reported physical, emotional, financial, and transportation barriers to care, but most did not feel there were any cultural barriers to receiving care. Navigator services most commonly used included decision making, referrals, transportation, scheduling appointments, and communication. Satisfaction with the program was high. Our study provides a template to develop a culturally appropriate survey instrument for use with an AI/AN population, which could be adapted for use with other indigenous patient populations. Although our sample was small, our qualitative analysis facilitated a deeper understanding of the barriers faced by this population and how a navigator program may best address them. The results reveal the strengths and weakness of this program, and provide baseline patient satisfaction numbers which will allow future patient navigator programs to better create evaluation benchmarks.
Cites: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2012 Oct;21(10):1673-81 PMID 23045542
Cites: MMWR Surveill Summ. 2004 Jun 4;53(3):1-108 PMID 15179359
In this study, a series of focus groups were conducted to gain an understanding of the nature of stress among Canadian Aboriginal women and men living with diabetes. Specifically, attention was given to the meanings Aboriginal peoples with diabetes attach to their lived experiences of stress, and the major sources or causes of stress in their lives. The key common themes identified are concerned not only with health-related issues (i.e. physical stress of managing diabetes, psychological stress of managing diabetes, fears about the future, suffering the complications of diabetes, and financial aspects of living with diabetes), but also with marginal economic conditions (e.g. poverty, unemployment); trauma and violence (e.g. abuse, murder, suicide, missing children, bereavement); and cultural, historical, and political aspects linked to the identity of being Aboriginal (e.g. 'deep-rooted racism', identity problems). These themes are, in fact, acknowledged not as mutually exclusive, but as intertwined. Furthermore, the findings suggest that it is important to give attention to diversity in the Aboriginal population. Specifically, Métis-specific stressors, as well as female-specific stressors, were identified. An understanding of stress experienced by Aboriginal women and men with diabetes has important implications for policy and programme planning to help eliminate or reduce at-risk stress factors, prevent stress-related illnesses, and enhance their health and life quality.
In a phenomenological research study with a purposeful sample, 6 Ojibwa and Cree indigenous women healers from Canada and the United States shared their experience of being a traditional healer. Using stories obtained during open-ended, unstructured interviews, in this article I depict the lives, backgrounds, and traditional healing practices of women who, in the past, have not been afforded an opportunity to dialogue about their healing art and abilities. The methods of these women healers, their arts and their gifts, are different from those of Western conventional medicine because of dissimilar world views related to health and illness. An increased awareness of health care providers related to the ancient art of traditional healing currently practiced in communities by gifted women who provide culturally specific holistic healing and health care is essential.
OBJECTIVES: American Indians/Alaska Natives are underrepresented in clinical trials. Therefore, they must participate in large-scale cancer clinical trials to ensure the generalizability of trial results and improve their access to high-quality treatment. Our goal was to identify factors that influenced participation in cancer clinical trials among American Indians/Alaska Natives. METHODS: An anonymous survey that assessed willingness to participate in a hypothetical cancer clinical trial and how 37 factors influenced their willingness to participate was administered to 112 older American Indian/Alaska Native adults at an annual social event honoring elders. Responses ranged from one (definitely would not participate) to five (definitely would participate). Data were analyzed with ordinal logistic regression. RESULTS: Factors that most strongly increased willingness to participate were having a lead researcher of Native descent, having a study physician with experience treating American Indians/Alaska Natives, personal experience with the cancer being studied, family support for participation, and belief/hope that the study would result in new treatments. Factors that decreased willingness to participate most strongly were living far from the study site and a high risk that confidentiality could be breached. CONCLUSIONS: Our results identify conventional and culturally unique barriers to research participation among older American Indians/Alaska Natives. These data emphasize the need to establish partnerships with Native communities and include American Indian/Alaska Native and culturally competent professionals in research efforts. Of equal importance are disseminating information about clinical trials and recognizing the role of family in decisionmaking in this group.
Like most indigenous populations throughout the world who have undergone innumerable cultural changes, the mental health care needs of American Indians are great. Some surveys conducted by the Indian Health Service show high rates of suicide, mortality, depression and substance abuse. Little is known about effective mental health care among American Indians due, in part, to the lack of culturally appropriate models of mental health in American Indians. This article presents a cultural framework in order to understand the mental health care needs of American Indians and discusses barriers to providing effective mental health services to American Indians.
BACKGROUND: Recent studies suggest that American Indian and Alaska Native women have important barriers to cancer screening and underuse cancer screening tests. METHODS: We examined the breast and cervical cancer screening practices of 4,961 American Indian and Alaska Native women in 47 states from 1992 through 1997 by using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. RESULTS: About 65.1% [95% confidence interval (CI) 60.2 to 69.9%] of women in this sample aged 50 years or older had received a mammogram in the past 2 years. About 82.6% (95% CI 80.1 to 85.2%) of women aged 18 years or older who had not undergone a hysterectomy had received a Papanicolaou test in the past 3 years. Older women and those with less education were less likely to be screened. Women who had seen a physician in the past year were much more likely to have been screened. CONCLUSIONS: These results underscore the need for continued efforts to ensure that American Indian and Alaska Native women who are elderly or medically underserved have access to cancer screening services.
Evidence links adequate prenatal care to improved birth outcomes. Research, however, indicates that First Nations women do not attend regularly for prenatal care. In the current study, seven informants, representing three First Nations tribes, were extensively interviewed to examine their beliefs about pregnancy and participation in prenatal care. First Nations women conceptualized pregnancy in a spiritual context and believed it to be a healthy, natural process requiring no intervention. Since they believed they were responsible for "taking care of themselves" during pregnancy, cultural practices that were thought to promote a healthy pregnancy were espoused. First Nations women were reportedly often dissatisfied with health-care providers in prenatal clinics. Their expectations of freely offered explanations and a friendly non-authoritarian approach were often not realized and their beliefs about pregnancy were in conflict with those of health-care providers. Barriers to prenatal care might be reduced by improving communication and providing holistic culture-specific care.
Cree women from the Moose Factory zone were asked about their views on evacuation for childbirth. Significant concerns cited were separation from children, loneliness, boredom, and the hospital accommodations. Shopping, the medical staff and equipment, and the opportunity to visit relatives were considered positive factors. Suggested improvements were to bring along family members, to provide alternative accommodation, and to have activities to occupy the time.