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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Florida International Study to Address Health Disparities in Native American Communities in Florida

Florida International University Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work (Stempel), in collaboration with Florida State University College of Nursing, has earned a $1.275 million grant to address health disparities in Native American communities in Florida.

As part of the grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), FIU’s Community-Based Research Institute (CBRI), part of Stempel, will partner with the Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity (INRHE), part of FSU’s College of Nursing.

The project, titled “Community Partnership Preventing Health Risks among Florida Urban American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Young Adults,” looks to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health promotion and disease prevention services for urban young adults in those communities. To carry out the project, researchers also will partner with Florida Pow Wows and various Native American communities.

The urban American Indian and Alaska Native population is comprised of over 560 various ethnicities, cultures, tribes, communities, associations, and groups of people, many of whom were moved to urban areas through the federal Indian Relocation Act (IRA). IRA participants were assigned to urban locations distant from supportive tribal settings, cultural resources, traditional structures, and family, leading to lingering health and mental health disparities. The current project is designed to help alleviate these disparities.

“We are proud to be partnering with Native American communities and FSU in this effort and are eager to learn from and with our participants how best to end the health disparities plaguing Florida’s urban AI/AN,” said Dr. Eric F. Wagner, CBRI director and professor in the School of Social Work at Stempel College.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported the total U.S. American Indian and Alaska Native population to be 5.4 million people in 2014, and the total population in Florida to be more than 100,000 people. Florida is also home to two reservation-based (non-urban) tribes. However, the majority of the 100,000+ American Indian and Alaska Native people living in Florida are urban and not members of the reservation-based tribes. This project targets Florida’s urban-dwelling American Indian and Alaska Native people who mostly reside in the central and northern areas of Florida.

CBRI will lead the research and evaluation component of the project, which results from and extends CBRI’s longstanding collaborations with Native American groups and Native American researchers. FSU’s Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity (INRHE) will lead the capacity-building and implementation components of the project which focus on providing accessible, developmentally engaging, culturally and linguistically appropriate, state-of-the-science substance abuse, HIV, and VH prevention services for urban AI/AN young adults living in Florida. INRHE is led by John Lowe, former faculty at FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and is the first indigenous nurse-led research center worldwide. The overall goal of INRHE is to partner with indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations, nationally and internationally, to attain health equity.

“There remain enduring health disparities, substantial service gaps and a large, unmet need for state-of-the-science prevention for substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis among urban American Indian and Alaska Native young adults in Florida,” Lowe said. “This project will contribute significantly and meaningfully to closing this gap and addressing these health disparities.”