“Native Americans experience health disparities at rates far above those of non-Natives,” says Seth Allard, cultural anthropologist, research assistant for the project, and member of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

“Enhancing the Circle of Health” CDC Grant Addresses Culturally Competent Approaches to Diabetes, Tobacco Use in Native Communities

To promote culturally informed care and disease prevention, Western Michigan University (WMU) teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Association for Prevention, Teaching and Research (ATPR), and Tribal and non-Tribal stakeholders in Southwest Michigan to create a curriculum to educate health professionals on Native American culture, history and the impact of historical trauma on current health disparities. The project, titled “Enhancing the Circle of Health: Culturally Competent Public Health Care Collaboration to Address Type 2 Diabetes and Tobacco Reduction in Native American Communities,” will run from May-August 2017.

“Native Americans experience health disparities at rates far above those of non-Natives,” says Seth Allard, cultural anthropologist, research assistant for the project, and member of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. “We must consider how disastrous Indian policies of the 19th and 20th centuries have strongly impacted Native American communities. Loss of culture, natural resources, traditional economies, and placement in the margins of mainstream society continue to impact their physical, mental, and spiritual health.”

The goal of “Enhancing the Circle of Health” is to develop a case study on two health disparities commonly experienced in Native American communities – Type 2 Diabetes and tobacco use – while focusing on the Urban Native community of Southwest Michigan. The case study will include interviews with Tribal members, who will share their views on the causes of diabetes and tobacco use in the Tribal community, experiences with the health care system, and culturally appropriate approaches to serving Tribal communities.  Information from interviews will inform a national curriculum on diabetes, tobacco use and cultural competency in Native American communities for health professions students.   

The project was developed as an interprofessional partnership within the WMU College of Health and Human Services, including Dr. Shannon McMorrow and Dr. Vivian Valdmanis, from the Master of Public Health Program, and Dr. Dee Sherwood, from the Master of Social Work Program.  “It is essential that we educate future health professionals, including public health and social work students, to be culturally competent. In doing so, we must actively work together to dismantle long held stereotypes and stigmatization of Native American communities,” said Sherwood. “Our overarching goal is to make sure that all voices are reflected in this curriculum development.”


The grant was supported by Family Outreach Center of Grand Rapids, Anishnaabe Circle of Grand Rapids, Choose Your Path program, American Indian Employability Services, and Western Regional Area Health Education Center. “Included in the team,” says Allard, “are Tribal leaders, organizations, the local Tribal community, various researchers, public health care experts, and videographers. The project approaches Tribal health with a focus on resilience, activism and leadership of Tribal peoples, while emphasizing the health care communities’ reaching out to Tribal peoples for teaching and guidance. I look forward to this project as both researcher and Tribal member.”


Tribal members are invited to attend a community meeting where they will be presented with a draft of this project and encouraged to provide feedback that will help improve the curriculum.  Where: WMU Beltline Campus in Grand Rapids, MI. When: Thursday, July 20th, 5:30-7:30 pm. Dinner will provided. RSVP to Dee Sherwood at (616) 258 – 0286 or Seth Allard at seth.m.allard@wmich.edu by July 17th. WGVU will host a mutually inclusive show on diabetes and tobacco use in the Grand Rapids Native American community July 21st, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at WGVU studio 301 Fulton W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.


Upcoming Events

Attending any of these upcoming events? Have other events to share? Let us know! Email us at NNN@ITCMI.ORG to share your event information or to get on our list serve for event updates.


Colorectal Cancer Screening in American Indian & Alaska Native Communities - Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 2 p.m. EST - NCCRT Webinar.  Explore CRC screening in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.  This webinar will provide a brief overview of the NCCRT and ACS's April 2016 summit on CRC and AI/AN communities to describe ACS's recent grants to increase screening for AI/AN-serving primary care clinics.  We will also hear from two Ai/An-serving organizations that are implementing innovative strategies to increase CRC screening in the communities they serve.  Speakers will include:  Laura Makaroff of ACS, Jessica Deaton of the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, and Richard Mousseau of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board.  REGISTER HERE

WEBINAR - 2018 Clinical Scholar Applicants - A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program - Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 3:30 p.m. EDT - Do these statements apply to you?:  Are you a health care professional working with kids, adults, or families in a community in the U.S. or U.S. Territories? | Are you motivated to improve the health of those most vulnerable in your community? | Do you have a desire to further develop your leadership skills? | If yes, REGISTER HERE.

Tobacco Listening Session - Kalamazoo, Michigan - LEARN MORE

Community Foods Projects Competitive Grant Program, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Applications due December 4, 2017 For more information, CLICK HERE

National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program for fiscal year 2018. The estimated total program funding in fiscal year 2018 is approximately $8,640,000. The Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program funds two types of grants, Community Food Projects and Planning Projects. The primary goals of the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program are to:

·         Meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service;

·         Increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities;

·         Promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and

·         Meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs including needs relating to: Equipment necessary for the efficient operation of a project; Planning for long-term solutions; or The creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Eligible applicants include public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners.

A webinar will be held on Monday October 16, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time for potential applicants. The Adobe Connect link is: http://nifa-connect.nifa.usda.gov/cfp2018/.

Full details can be found at: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=297333

CDC FUNDING OPPORTUNITY - DEADLINE:  December 11, 2017 - "Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response:  Public Health Crisis Response" - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a notice of funding opportunity:  Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response:  Public Health Crisis Response.  The purpose of this opportunity is to "enhance the nation's ability to rapidly respond to public health emergencies, which may include infectious disease outbreaks, pandemics, and other public health emergencies that exceed the capacity of jurisdictional public health resources."  Since initial funding and response can impact health outcomes after an emergency, this award opportunity allows applicants to be pre-approved so they can be funded quickly after an emergency occurs, allowing applicants to better prepare for emergency plans now.  CDC may also fund some pre-award costs.  Tribal governments may apply if they meet eligibility requirements and serve at least 50,000 people through their public health infrastructures.  LEARN MORE HERE.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY - Public Health Institute is accepting applications for the National Leadership Academy for the Public's Health from teams in the Appalachian and Mid-regions of the United States.  "For communities that are engaged in cross-sector work to improve the public health, this is an opportunity to boost your team's capacity and skills through a community leadership process."  Deadline January 12, 2018 - LEARN MORE

Funding Opportunity - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Policies for Action:  Policy and Law Research to Build a Culture of Health - HERE