First Advisor

Kelly Gonzales

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Studies: Community Health Education and University Honors


Health Studies


Transcultural medical care, Diabetes -- Treatment, Indians of North America -- Health and hygiene, Indians of North America -- Nutrition, Alaska Natives -- Health and hygiene, Alaska Natives -- Nutrition, Cultural competence, Public health -- Citizen participation, Community health services -- Citizen participation




This inquiry examined culturally responsive diabetes interventions within the context of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) health. The role of history, culture, and resilience in shaping these approaches was determined. Additionally, past instances of abuse from healthcare workers and researchers highlighted the need for culturally competent education. A combination of a literature review and ethnography from events hosted by the local Portland, Oregon AI/AN community helped to address these questions and concerns. This study found that identifying determinants of health using Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is the most effective. The health disparities experienced by AI/AN peoples today are predominantly due to a history of forced removal, genocidal tactics, and detrimental environmental policies. The main elements of a diabetes intervention that takes this history into account includes, connection to culture and the land, education on historical/intergenerational trauma, and focusing on resilience and tribal sovereignty. The use of traditional foods, community gardens, and holistic fitness programs are some examples of strategies being used to treat diabetes by AI/AN peoples today. Future research should examine how the experiences of Indigenous peoples can better guide those in the field of public health working to achieve health equity for all.


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