Grand Canyon University
Family-Centered Health Promotion
Alaskan Natives and Health Promotion
Health Status, Disparities, and Health Promotion among Alaskan Natives “Native peoples in the United States do not form a single ethnic group, and they always have resisted a homogenous definition; they are better understood as thousands of individual communities and cultures”(Huff, Kline, & Peterson, 2015, p. 271). Alaskan Natives (AN) are one of the 5 recognized race categories. In general AN are lumped together with American Indians (AI) when it comes to categorizing races. Though AN and AI may share similarities, they actually are very unique and have many differences. For this reason, this paper is focusing strictly on AN as a race, their health status, health disparities, and health promotion. It also will attempt to answer the best way to promote health in AN using the three levels of health promotion prevention while considering structural barriers that AN face, the status of AN health, and ways that we can promote healthy living among the AN.
Alaskan Native Statics Alaskan Natives (AN) are one of five races that are recognized by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB actually combines Alaskan Natives (AN) and American Indians (AI) into one race. Though the AN and AI do share a lot of similarities, they are actually quite different. “The population of Alaska is estimated to be 736,399 people with 1482,898 being AN” ("Statewide Population Estimates," 2015) which makes up approximately one percent of the US population. It is difficult for researchers to obtain an accurate number due to the fact that many AN inhabit areas that are difficult to reach and obtain statistical information, or they simply do not participate in studies. It is noted that greater than 22 percent of the AN population live below the poverty lines, which was estimated to be double that of US whites. Anywhere from 50 percent to 98 percent of AN had running water or working sewer systems, with the numbers varying greatly due to geographic isolation or non-participation in studies. Unemployment rates were not able to be obtained due to geographic isolation or non-participation in studies. The High School dropout rate varied from study to study with an average of one in four AN dropping out of High School as compared to approximately one in twelve US whites. The main household income was approximately $10,000-$19,999 as compared to $50,000-$75,000 being the main reported household income in US whites. There are varying degrees of all statics in AN due to the fact that many AN live in areas that isolate them from studies. “AI/ANs have a unique relationship with the federal government due to historic conflict and subsequent treaties. Tribes exist as sovereign entities, but federally recognized tribes are entitled to health and educational services provided by the federal government.
This charged with serving the health needs of these populations, more than half of AI/ANs do not permanently reside on a reservation, and therefore have limited or no access to IHS services” ("Contributing Factors to Health Disparities Among American Indian/Alaska Native Populations," 2013). Given this information it is noted that approximately 130,000 AN belong to the Alaska Tribal Health system, leaving approximately 24 percent of AN uninsured.
Alaskan Natives Health Status, Health Disparities, and Health Promotion It is noted that the AN are a very family, community, and tribal based race. The AN believe in the body as a whole, not just as a body part. The AN believe in preserving their race and culture by passing down teachings to the younger AN through storytelling, by learning lessons based upon what elders have experienced, and by teaching the younger generation to respect and value all of those in the tribe. AN believe in a holistic approach to healing. They believe that the body, mind and spirit