Chuck Haga of the Grand Forks Herald reports on some of finding presented Friday at the American Indian Health Research Conference:
NORTH DAKOTA – American Indians die from such preventable diseases as diabetes at far higher rates than other Americans, especially in North Dakota and other states in the region, and a leading Indian health authority says more tribally driven research is needed to reduce such disparities.
Also, “chronic under-funding of the Indian Health Service (IHS) has more impact on Indian health than any disease,” Dr. Donald Warne told participants in a UND-sponsored conference on Indian health research.
He said diabetes, depression and alcoholism — a “triad” of debilitating conditions common in Indian communities — each aggravates the others and hampers treatment.
“We don’t address this holistically,” as cultural traditions would suggest, Warne said. “Instead, we cut treatment in half; the medical side isn’t integrated with the behavioral side. I think we’ve proven this is not working.
“Our traditional healers would find this (divided approach) ridiculous.”
Warne, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe from Pine Ridge, S.D., spoke Friday at the eighth annual American Indian Health Research Conference at the Alerus Center.
Recently appointed director of Sanford Health’s new Office of Native American Health, he will coordinate activities involving the hospital system, the IHS and the 28 tribes within Sanford’s coverage area in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.
Tags: alcoholism, american indian health research conference, buffalo post, depression, diabetes, dr. donald warne, grand forks herald, IHS, indian health services, northern plains native americans, Oglala, Oglala Lakota, Oglala Lakota Tribe, Pine Ridge, University of North Dakota