Promising Practices for Promoting Health Equity Through Rigorous Intervention Science with Indigenous Communities

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Research in indigenous communities is at the forefront of innovation currently influencing several new perspectives in engaged intervention science. This is innovation born of necessity, involving efforts to create health equity complicated by a history of distrust of research. Immense diversity across indigenous cultures, accompanied by variation in associated explanatory models, health beliefs, and health behaviors, along with divergent structural inequities add further complexity to this challenge. The aim of this Supplemental Issue on Promoting Health Equity through Rigorous, Culturally Informed Intervention Science: Innovations with Indigenous Populations in the United States is to highlight the promising new approaches and perspectives implemented by a group of engaged researchers and their community partners, as they seek to move intervention research forward within indigenous communities. Case studies presented are from projects led by members of the National Institutes of Health Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health (IRINAH) consortioum, investigators who conduct health promotion and disease prevention research among American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The promising practices profiled include new strategies in (a) community partnerships, engagement, and capacity building; (b) integration of indigenous and academic perspectives; (c) alignment of interventions with indigenous cultural values and practices; and (d) implementation and evaluation of multilevel interventions responsive to complex cultural contexts. The IRINAH projects illustrate the evolution of an intervention science responsive to the needs, realities, and promise of indigenous communities, with application to health research among other culturally distinct health inequity groups.

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Correspondence to Nancy Rumbaugh Whitesell.

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Not applicable; this paper provides an overview of other papers in this Supplemental Issue and does not report original research.

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Whitesell, N.R., Mousseau, A., Parker, M. et al. Promising Practices for Promoting Health Equity Through Rigorous Intervention Science with Indigenous Communities. Prev Sci 21, 5–12 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11121-018-0954-x

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  • Indigenous populations
  • Intervention research
  • Health equity
  • Community-based participatory research
  • American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian