In a discussion paper written for the National Academy of Medicine, researchers from the University of Arizona Native American Research and Training Center and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health examine child and infant mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The very vulnerable demographic group of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) youth face unique and important challenges. The authors suggest we need to hear from native stakeholders and experts in American Indian health about the contextual factors (poverty, low educational attainment, and substance abuse) that represent a threat to native communities in this country. To begin to mitigate that threat, researchers, opinion leaders, human services providers, and the general population need to begin to understand what is killing native children.
In this paper the authors use the lens of infant and childhood mortality as a tool to recognize opportunities for action that could have an impact on this perhaps most critical indicator of the health of this population.
“We attempt to extract some lessons from the lived experiences of too many reservation and urban Indian communities and turn these tragic stories into useful tools for broader policy and health system change,” said first author Dr. Teshia G. Arambula Solomon, associate professor of family and community medicine at the UA College of Medicine and director of the UA Native American-Research and Training Center.
Co-author Ms. Felina M. Cordova, is a doctoral student in the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health. Dr. Francisco Garcia, is director of the Pima County Health Department and a professor in the health promotion sciences department at the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health.
What’s Killing Our Children? Child and Infant Mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives
National Academy of Medicine, March 7: Dr. Teshia G. Arambula Solomon, Ms. Felina M. Cordova; Dr. Francisco Garcia.