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Director’s Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Initiative


The main health challenges currently faced by American Indian and Alaska Native people are the increasing health conditions and chronic diseases that are related to lifestyles issues such as obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, substance abuse, and injuries. To help meet these challenges, the Indian Health Service (IHS) has launched a Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP/DP) Initiative to develop a coordinated and systematic approach to enhance preventive health approaches at the local, regional, and national levels.

This Initiative is aligned with the President’s HealthierUS, HHS Steps to a HealthierUS, and Healthy People 2010.


The goal of the HP/DP Initiative is to create healthier American Indian and Alaska Native communities by developing, coordinating, implementing, and disseminating effective health promotion and chronic disease prevention programs through collaboration with key stakeholders and by building on individual, family, and community strengths and assets. To this end, the IHS has:

  • Established a HP/DP Policy Advisory Committee to provide oversight and policy guidance to the agency; and
  • Established a Prevention Task Force to develop a strategic plan to enhance and improve disease prevention and health promotion efforts by identifying diseases with the greatest disparities and developing a framework to address these diseases.

In addition, the IHS is continuing its ongoing efforts to:

  • Establish HP/DP coordinators in the 12 IHS Areas to support IHS, Tribal, and Urban programs in developing, implementing, and evaluating health promotion and chronic disease prevention efforts;
  • Create and expand federal, corporate, foundation, and academic partners to support healthier behaviors;
  • Promote and expand community and clinical health promotion and chronic disease prevention best practices;
  • Build the capacity for effective health promotion practices at the local level by increasing the knowledge, skills, and capacities of Tribal, IHS, and Urban program health workers and leaders;
  • Promote and adopt environmental, school, and worksite polices that support healthier behaviors;
  • Develop a clearinghouse of best practices, resources, training, and community assessment tools to enhance community access;
  • Develop communication materials to raise awareness to specific health concerns; and
  • Conduct continuous process, impact, and outcome evaluations that are aligned with GPRA and Healthy People 2010 objectives.

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This file last modified: Tuesday July 22, 2008  9:43 AM