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Message From The Director

As Director of the Indian Health Service, I have the responsibility for carrying out the mission and goals of the agency to improve the mental, physical, social, and spiritual health of approximately 1.8 million American Indians Picture of Dr. Charles Grimand Alaska Natives living on or near reservations. This responsibility is a challenge and I need your help in order to make a difference in the lives of our people. Tribal leaders, health care providers, community members, and individuals must be partners in this effort to improve the health of Indian people. Although the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) has improved over the years, significant health disparities still exist.

3 Health Initiatives Launched

In order to address the health challenges and disparities facing Indian people today, I am launching 3 health initiatives that I believe will have an impact on the health and wellness of Indian people. These 3 initiatives are Health Promotion/Disease Prevention, Management of Chronic Disease, and Behavioral Health. These initiatives are linked together and have the potential to achieve positive improvements in the health of Indian people. Through this webpage, you will find information on these 3 initiatives, and I ask each of you to work with me and our many partners to make a difference in the lives of Indian people.

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention: Reduce Disparities

Together, we have accomplished much with our Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Initiative and its focus on Indian patients and communities. We have engaged Tribal leadership through the HP/DP Policy Advisory Committee and now they are taking this Initiative to our Tribes and communities. The goal of this Initiative is to reduce health disparities among AI/AN people by promoting healthy lifestyles and other disease prevention methods. Small arrow Read More

Chronic Care Initiative: Effectively Link Clinical and Community Programs

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, renal disease, and depression have become increasingly prevalent in AI/AN communities and are placing growing demands on our health care system. The goal of my Chronic Disease Management Initiative is to restructure Indian health clinical programs to more effectively manage chronic diseases in Indian Country by linking community-based primary prevention programs with patient-centered secondary prevention efforts. Small arrow Read More

Behavioral Health: Effective Techniques Together with Tribal Traditions and Customs

Behavioral health is also linked to my HP/DP and chronic disease management initiatives. By focusing on effective behavioral health techniques and tribal traditions and customs, we can bring proven behavioral health strategies and specific health promotion and disease prevention programs to AI/AN populations. We need to focus on screening and primary prevention in mental health, especially for depression, which manifests itself in suicide, domestic violence, and addictions. We know that mental health issues such as depression can make chronic disease management more difficult and less effective. Small arrow Read More

Our Partnership Challenge

Our challenge on these 3 initiatives is to bring together all the partners that can help - Tribal leaders, Tribal organizations, federal agencies, academic institutions, private foundations and businesses - in order to improve the health of Indian people and eliminate the health disparities between AI/AN people and the rest of the nation.


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