UNDERSTANDING THE PERCEPTIONS OF AMERICAN INDIANS IN OKLAHOMA
Amber Anderson1, Tom Anderson2.
1Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center, Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board, Oklahoma City, OK.
Numerous studies can be found to better understand disproportional morbidity and mortality rates among American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Research suggests multiple sources are used for these rates; however, few investigations can be found seeking the perceptions of this special population. In this study, sponsored by the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center and AARP, a Tribal Community survey was conducted to better understand the beliefs of AI/AN residing in Oklahoma. The 313 participants of the survey were AI/AN community members aged 40 years or older. This comprehensive assessment provided information on the challenges and priorities in life, monthly expenses and discounts, demographics, and consumer related issues. Interviews were conducted face-to-face at various tribal community meetings, luncheons, health fairs, and powwows. One result of this assessment indicated seeing grandchildren happy or being a part of their lives ranked the highest priority of those interviewed. Another result suggested personal health problems/staying healthy was the single most important problem facing those who are mid-life and older. Additional results from the survey will be further analyzed so prevention and education programs can be developed to cater to the specific desires and needs of the AI/AN population in Oklahoma.