Grant Funding To Boost Healthcare Access for American Indians | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Grant Funding To Boost Healthcare Access for American Indians

Jun 18, 2014

North Dakota State University has been awarded a three-year 1-point-4 Million dollar grant to help establish a public health resource center for American Indians. The grant funding – from the Leona M and Harry B Helmsley Charitable Trust – will be matched with 720-thousnad dollars in state funding. NDSU President Dean Bresciani says the new “American Indian Public Health Resource Center” will be a “game changer”…

…with the partnering with the Helmsley Foundation and partnering of the matching grant created by our legislative and governmental leaders; by putting those together we are going to be able to accomplish something never before possible. And it’s going to be a model, frankly, that quickly extends beyond the state of North Dakota’s border.

Doctor Donald Warne is director of the Master of Public Health program at NDSU. He says the role of public health is essential among American Indians. He says a person doesn’t have to look very hard to see the need for public health programs in reservations…

…To give you an example of here in North Dakota. American Indian adults have twice as much Diabetes than the non-Indian population. And Type-2 Diabetes is a preventable disease. But even among those who have diabetes, American Indians die at a 6-times greater rate than the non-Indian population. So one of the outcomes of all of these preventable causes of suffering and death is at the average age of death for an American Indian person living in North Dakota is 54-point-7 years. SO that is in many ways Third-World health conditions.

Officials say while the grant funding is initially set for three years, additional funding sources will emerge as success with the program grows.