Health Resilience among American Indians in Arizona

NAU Pilot Research Team
NAU Pilot Research Team

Project description

Our project builds on existing local data as well as national data suggesting a need for wellness and resilience-based information on American Indians in Arizona. We are using a community-engaged approach to identify wellness strategies among American Indians, assess health care provider perceptions and strategies on wellness, and develop plans for enhancing and improving policy and communication for improved health. Our team includes faculty in Anthropology and Health Sciences, a group of Community Researchers from throughout Arizona, and student volunteers.

Project aims

Aim 1

  • Identify current knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors among American Indians related to increased fitness and demonstrated resilience through lifestyle changes

Aim 2

  • Assess patient-provider communication about overweight and obesity

Aim 3

  • Determine evidence-based, culturally appropriate strategies which provide primary, secondary, or tertiary prevention against health risks of overweight and obesity

Aim 4

  • Make policy and procedural recommendations to inform CAIR and community stakeholders

Project goals

  • Develop methods, analysis, and dissemination strategies from medical anthropology and public health
  • Capacity building through training Community Researchers in ethnographic research methods
  • Develop evidence-based, culturally appropriate strategies to support and promote healthy lifestyles
  • Make policy and procedural recommendations

Data Analysis Meeting with Community Researcher team
Data analysis meeting with Community Researcher team


  • Informed policy recommendations hold the potential to improve the efficiency of the health care system
  • Involving community members and local institutions improves the chances for lasting impactful change
  • Developing, refining, and disseminating tools for community engagement informs a national audience on research to promote resilience and improving health equity

Key components

  • Partnerships: Fit Kids-FMC, NACA, North Country Health Care, and Sacred Peaks
  • Adapt and implement a version of Rapid Assessment, Response, and Evaluations (RARE)
  • Train community researchers, select tools from methods toolkit, conduct in-office recordings, analyze data, validate findings, and develop recommendations
  • Policy and procedural recommendations and publications