Press Release: Healthy, Active Native Communities Grant Awardees

Posted by AAIP News on 03/29/2016

Press Release: For Immediate Release

AAIP Awards Healthy, Active Native Community Grant for 2016

March 29, 2016

Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) is proud to announce our three Healthy Active Native Communities’ funded partners for 2016 – Indian Health Service Community Nutrition (Whiteriver, AZ), Indian Child and Family Preservation Program (Santa Rosa, CA), and Pueblo of Acoma Health and Wellness (Acoma, NM). Through a competitive process these Tribal Health Departments were selected to receive a $ 5,000 mini award to culturally adapt and implement a CDC Winnable Battles Obesity Prevention Strategy.

AAIP is continuing our work with four of the 2015 mini-awardees – Ho-Chunk Nation (Black River Falls, WI), Sacramento Native American Health Center (Sacramento, CA), Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKC, OK), and Igiugig Village Council (Igiugig, AK). These tribal health departments were awarded $2,000 for sustainability projects to build upon their 2015 obesity prevention environmental change projects’. These projects will result in a policy or systems change outcome.

Congratulations to our funded community partners!

White Mountain Apache Farmers Market

In Whiteriver Arizona in the middle of the White Mountains our project aims to impact 4,000 members of the Apache tribes who are located throughout this rural area.  Our goal is to make fruits and vegetables more affordable and accessible by utilizing CDC Winnable Battle Strategy #4 to start/expand a farmers market. We have collaborated with local Apache farms and WIC/SNAP program to host a monthly farmers market on hospital property.

We will work with local farmers and vendors and help them to apply for SNAP/WIC merchant accounts so that customers may use their EBT cards to purchase fruits and vegetables from them at the farmers market. We will supply coupons at WIC/SNAP for community members to use at the farmers markets.  As an incentive for community members, every $10 that the WIC/SNAP participant spends at the farmers markets on fruits and vegetables, they will receive an additional $2 coupon for use at the farmers market. Nutrition specialists will host healthy cooking demonstrations and conduct health screenings and education at the farmers markets.

Expanding Community Wellness Garden and Recreation Complex Project

            The Indian Child and Family Preservation Program will collaborate with Ya-Ka-Ma Indian Education and Development in Forestville, CA to develop approximately 3 acres for the wellness garden and recreation center.  Our goal is to increase the number of fruits and vegetables consumed by utilizing CDC Winnable Battle Strategy #8 to support and promote community and home gardens. The project will impact 80 families dealing with child abuse and/or neglect. Traditional Native produce, basket materials, and medicinal plants will be incorporated into the garden to educate and provide access for community members to holistic and traditional healing methods. Our goal is to supplement local USDA Food Commodity Program and provide starter kits for residential planter boxes. We will collaborate with our partners to develop garden layout, garden preparation, planting and harvesting schedule, and supplies needed. We will recruit a minimum of 10% of target community to volunteer and implement gardening, nutrition, and health education for community members. We will conduct pre/post surveys for access/consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Achievers in Health and Fitness

            The Pueblo of Acoma Tribe in rural northwestern New Mexico has maintained its ancestral cultural beliefs, practices, and Keres language. Our project will increase physical activity in 120 school-aged children by utilizing the CDC Winnable Battle Strategy #6 creation of or enhanced access to places for physical activity combined with informational outreach activities.

Our Health and Wellness team will implement PAK activity curriculum during afterschool hours and spring breaks at Sky Community School (K-8th). The PAK is a physical activity kit that is culturally tailored with materials that utilize traditional and contemporary Native American games. Additionally, health education on prevention and awareness, healthy lifestyle classes, and basic cooking sessions will be provided for the children. Our goal is to reach the entire community through the youth, who will then educate their families and parents. Another issue we hope to address is the self-esteem of our youth. By empowering the youth with life skills, positive role models, and health education we intend to improve the mental health of our youth.

Our Sustainability Partners will build off of their 2015 obesity prevention efforts.

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) Fun and Fit Center

In the first year of this project we established a Fun and Fit Center at our clinic designed for youth. We collaborated with the clinic physicians to write prescriptions for physical activity for the youth who would then attend fitness classes specifically designed for children ages 5-12. In Year 2 our goal is to expand the center and to ensure continued support of the center from the OKCIC leadership.  The OKCIC leadership will sign a letter of commitment agreeing to ensure future funds and staff appropriations in support of center, classes, and physician prescription referral. We will expand center by providing three additional afterschool classes for 45 kids during the school year – Kids in Motion, Jump roping, and Yoga for Kids.

Igiugig Village Aquavik Center

In Year One the community all helped to build a fitness space for the community and we implemented informational outreach activities through trainings and the Healthy Village Challenge. In Year 2 our goal is to institutionalize commitment from the two relevant organizations with authority in this area: Iguigig Village Council and Southcentral Foundation. Through Tribal Resolutions, formalized memorandums of agreement and letters of commitment we will establish support and funding necessary for Aquavik facility functioning, upgrades, and community physical activity needs.

Ho-Chunk Pallet Garden Project

In Year One we increased access to fruit and vegetables throughout Native communities in rural Wisconsin by providing pallet gardens to over 135 families.  Our goal in Year 2 is to expand the project by establishing community fruit trees and gardens at two community centers and gaining leadership support through presentations at the presidential meetings and listening sessions. The annual gardens planted will be apple trees, raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes, strawberry plants, and asparagus. Each of these fruits and vegetables grow back year after year without having to be replanted. Ho-Chunk community members will sign letters of commitment to maintain the gardens and trees.

Sacramento Native American Health Center Community Gardens

In Year 1 we collaborated with other community based organizations to design and implement a community garden and garden/health education for community members. In year 2, we will continue our work place healthy food policy and receive a letter of commitment from our board to continue to enforce healthy policies for our center and staff. We will continue our work with Soil Born Farms and expand garden projects to include olive, nuts, and a variety of fruit trees. Community members will learn how to implement sustainable farming practices like renewable energy and water conservation.