The mission statement of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) is: "Working together for wellness with American Indian and Alaska Native communities."
IHS has helped to improve the health status of AI/ANs since establishment in 1955. Most notable are reductions in morbidity and mortality that has resulted from improved clinical management and public health control of infectious diseases. However, in recent decades the relative burden of disease for AI/AN has shifted toward conditions that are, in a large part, can be improved through healthier behaviors. These conditions include heart disease, diabetes, and injuries.
IHS RESPONSE TO IMPROVE HEALTH STATUS
IHS and Tribal leaders are focusing on health promotion and disease prevention to address these emerging health issues. To do so, the IHS Director established a Prevention Initiative to bring more focus on preventive health within IHS and among Tribally operated programs. The IHS Prevention Task Force (PTF), with broad representation from IHS and Tribal programs, is responsible for identifying the key components for a coordinated and systematic approach to preventive health activities at all levels of health care for AI/ANs. The work of the IHS Prevention Task Force is fully integrated with past and on-going health initiatives within HHS, such as Healthy People 2010 and more recently the Secretary's Steps to a Healthier US. The programmatic focus areas of the Prevention Initiative are also entirely consistent with the priorities of the IHS Strategic Plan and performance measures identified in the Congressionally directed Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) reporting system. Additionally, the PTF receives guidance from the Policy Advisory Committee which consists of Tribal leaders, at the national and local levels, and representation from other federal agencies (e.g., CDC, NIH) that focus on health promotion and disease prevention.