SEATTLE, Wash. – For every 1,000 American Indian and Alaska Native babies born in U.S. cities, as many as 15 die before their first birthday*. To raise awareness and share valuable health and prevention messages about this problem, the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) has launched Native Generations, a campaign addressing the high rates of infant mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives. The campaign was made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health.
“We are pleased to launch the Native Generations campaign, which highlights examples of innovative and vital programs serving Native families in two major cities,” said Ralph Forquera, Founding Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, a division of the Seattle Indian Health Board. “The majority of American Indians and Alaska Natives – almost 70 percent – reside in urban areas. As the Native Generations video shows, connecting families to health care and providing support grounded in Native culture can reduce risk for infant death and help put an end to the infant mortality crisis.”
Native Generations depicts examples of effective approaches to outreach in Seattle and Detroit. As a vital prevention strategy, the video shares compelling stories of urban Native parents who have discovered ways to embrace their culture and community for the health of their families. The video teaches parents about infant health, safety practices and health risks.
“The disparities in infant mortality and maternal and child health among American Indians and Alaska Natives are striking,” said J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Acting Director of the Office of Minority Health. “Efforts like Native Generations underscore that, when culturally competent services are combined with awareness and education, we can make a difference in improving infant health and reducing disparities.”
In the next few months, the Urban Indian Health Institute plans to distribute the video to health providers and community organizations that serve American Indian and Alaska Native families.
There are Urban Indian Health Organizations in 20 states supporting Native generations in urban areas. Urban Indian Health Organizations provide health services, cultural activities and resources to protect the health and well-being of Native generations.
The Office of Minority Health is dedicated to improving the health status of racial and ethnic minority populations – including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders – through the development of policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities.
View the video along with materials and other resources for families on the Native Generations webpage.