The mission for the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health (CAIANH) is to promote the health and well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives, of all ages, by pursuing research, training, continuing education, technical assistance, and information dissemination within a biopsychosocial framework that recognizes the unique cultural contexts of this special population.
Welcome to the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health! We appreciate you taking time to explore the range of activities, programs, and partnerships that make us who we are.
By any measure, these are challenging times as we struggle, individually and collectively, with the COVID-19 crisis, the economic downturn, catastrophic loss of employment, and cries for change in matters of social justice. Many of us find the fractures in our society amplified by these events, which further exacerbate the already looming health disparities that plague Native peoples. Our work at the Centers has redoubled in an attempt to not only document these impacts, but to pursue the best possible science to inform the paths forward. We need to ensure the agendas before us marry data-driven insights with the observations that spring from long-held ways of knowing still evident in tribal communities.
As importantly, we at the Centers recognize knowledge alone is necessary but insufficient to affect the changes desperately called for in these times. We have an obligation, in partnership with key stakeholders across Indian Country, to apply this knowledge to enhance the well-being of our children, adults, and elders. This requires us to reach out, engage, and join in a common cause, bringing to bear the unique resources and perspectives which so richly characterize life in our communities.
I worry about our younger women and men as they pursue careers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. Now more than ever, the relevance of these fields should be self-evident with respect to issues of the day. But the value of science and its policy implications continue to be called into question. Consequently, those just embarking on research careers question more than ever the possibilities to undertake meaningful work and to make a difference in the everyday world. We at the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health believe these possibilities remain unaltered despite the headwinds which buffet us. Change is within our grasp. We have only to look to the dramatic reductions in diabetes and its complications that can be attributed in part to the evidence-based efforts of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. Or the community-based initiatives to reduce risk of suicide among youth and young adults.
We hope to share in the conversations that animate life in our communities. Let us, together make the possible probable!
Spero Manson, PhD