Risk Reduction Education
Reducing the Risk in Native American Communities
In response to the Aberdeen findings, NICHD has been working with members from the Native American community to discuss infant mortality and SIDS in the Northwest and the Northern Plains. They brought together individuals representing Native American and Alaska Native communities from the five IHS service areas that have the highest rates of SIDS—Aberdeen, Alaska, Bemidji, Billings and Portland—to identify and develop community-driven strategies for increasing SIDS awareness and reducing the number of infant deaths in Native American and Alaska Native communities. NICHD also formed a small work group of representatives of the participants from the regions, to guide the direction of the follow-up meeting and future of the outreach initiative.
NICHD is proceeding to the next phase in developing adaptable materials and support material for diverse Native American and Alaska Native communities. The work group and partners will be involved throughout the development of the plan and will continue to provide guidance and feedback at various stages.8
In 2003, HHS and the CJ Foundation for SIDS collaborated to support the reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in SIDS among American Indians. Efforts supported activities to reduce alcohol use by pregnant women, reduce maternal and secondhand smoke, increase the knowledge of SIDS among pregnant and teenage mothers and enhance local BTS campaigns. SIDS risk reduction activities were expanded to the Great Lakes Inter- Tribal Council in Lac Du Flambeau, WI; the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND and the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board in Aberdeen, SD.
Most recently, OMH, as part of the Closing the Health Gap Initiative, has funded a demonstration effort to promote and reduce disparities in infant mortality during the next three years. The Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service Tribal Organization will oversee this project.