Improving the health and well-being and reducing disparities in health and life expectancy among American Indian people in Montana. 

The focus of this initiative is on assisting tribes in implementing the new Medicaid Tribal Health Improvement Program (T-HIP).

Montana health statistics paint a troubling picture of American Indian health status. The median age at death is nearly 20 years shorter for American Indian people than for white people in Montana. Leading causes of death—including injury, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and cirrhosis—are all also substantially higher. Measurably improving health disparities will require coordination of tribal, state, federal, and MHCF resources, and stable, disciplined investment over many years. Montana’s newly created T-HIP creates an unprecedented opportunity to build a strong, evidence-based prevention system on Montana’s reservations. Establishing successful programs will require planning, public health expertise, and program implementation and management.

Only tribes and tribal government agencies may apply for funding under this initiative. Grantees should meet the following criteria:

  • Document commitment from tribal leadership to implement the T-HIP program.
  • Identify key staff and the tribal department where the T-HIP program will be established.
  • Have in place an IHS 638 contract for health promotion/disease prevention services, or use grant funds in part to develop the contract.
  • Tribes may use these funds to pay for the services of a contractor if needed. Any contractor chosen should have expertise in American Indian public health systems and a track record of successful efforts to engage and support tribal health systems.

If you are interested in applying for a T-HIP implementation grant, please contact MHCF Program Director Tressie White. 

T-HIP Resource Guide: Promising Programs in Native American Communities

At the request of the American Indian Health Leaders, we worked with Dr. Bruce Goldberg and Mary Dalton to review promising programs in Native American communities across the country. This resource guide was created to help tribes in planning and implementing Tiers 2 and 3 of the Montana Medicaid Tribal Health Improvement Program (T-HIP). This document will be updated periodically as new programs arise or are identified. 

Resource Guide

Focus Area: American Indian Health

Our Work in Reducing Disparities

Reducing Disparities Grantees

University of Montana

Improving Access, Training, and Recruitment for American Indian Health Care

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2021
Grant Amount: $97,359

The University of Montana will work to improve care for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) in Montana by increasing cultural awareness among medical students and improving access to care for specific medical services. Medical residents and health professions students at the Family Medicine Residency of Western Montana and the University of Montana will learn cultural humility through the development of a didactic curriculum for both learners and practicing professionals, as well as an immersion clinical experience at the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Tribal Health. The clinical experience will enhance cultural training and allow active recruitment of residents and students to work in AI/AN health care upon graduation. This project will also development models for new services to be provided by resident and faculty physicians at CSKT Tribal Health, beginning with maternal and obstetrical care. New services will help to address current barriers to care experienced by Tribal Health recipients. Grant funds will help develop curricula, provide resources for the creation of new models of care, and improve and expand the clinical training opportunities in AI/AN settings. This will help meet the overall goal of improving care for one of Montana’s largest underserved populations.

Families First Children's Museum

Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe Family Education Services

Project Term: 12 months; 2019-2020
Grant Amount: $26,118

The Families First Children’s Museum (FFCM) will provide family education classes and resources for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal (CSKT) community intended to foster healing and help develop resilient communities. The project will introduce new, relevant, and evidence-based curricula within three separate tracks: parents/caregivers, foster parents, and childcare providers. Funding will be used to hire native instructors and support curriculum development. Through current partnerships with CSKT, the Department of Human Resource Development, and Salish Kootenai College, as well as growth in collaboration with the Tribal Health Department, Tribal Education Department, local childcare providers, and organizations like the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, FFCM’s work will extend to reach more families and create connections between parent education skill development and a stronger family resource network.

Center Pole

Using All Parts of the Buffalo: Better Reservation Health through Food Rescue and Recovery

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2021
Grant Amount: $100,000

Center Pole will collect fresh foods from Billings that are near expiration and distribute them to the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations. This collection and distribution will be done through a system created and implemented by the Center Pole’s community food interns. Funding will be used to pay the food interns and for transportation costs and storage as well as for Center Pole’s traditional food production. Partners for this project include Crow Abundance is Here, a local community collaboration whose member organizations include the National Center for Appropriate Technology, Plenty Doors, Messengers for Health, Crow Tribal Health, Little Big Horn College, the USDA, AmeriCorps, and Food Corps Montana. Other partners include the Crow and Northern Cheyenne elders and Billings Family Service. The goal of this project is to assist the Crow and Northern Cheyenne in healing themselves through food and creating a healthy sustainable food economy that is culturally relevant, reflects traditional values of reciprocity, self-sufficiency, team work, sharing, and zero waste and leads to better health and longer lives.

Salish Kootenai College

Four-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree to Increase Native American Nurses in Montana

Project Term: 24 months; 2019-2021
Grant Amount: $100,000

This project will develop a four-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) at Salish Kootenai College (SKC). SKC’s mission is to provide quality education for Native American students so they can improve the lives of their families and the communities in which they live. The Indian Health Service (which only hires only BSN graduates), has hospitals and clinics on every reservation in Montana which means that BSN graduates will have a much better chance of finding employment opportunities in their own communities. Funding will be used to fund the staff time needed for development and implementation of the BSN program. The goal of this project is to graduate BSN students, particularly Native Americans, who can return to their home communities and reservations to decrease health disparities through the provision of culturally congruent care.

Mountain-Pacific Quality Health Foundation

Implementing Trauma-Informed Care

Project Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $98,284

For this project, Mountain-Pacific Quality Health will collaborate with the Billings Area Indian Health Service and service unit facilities in Montana to support the implementation of comprehensive approaches to trauma-informed care that effectively address trauma and its impact on American Indian and Alaska Native populations in Montana. Mountain-Pacific will also offer these services to tribal health departments and urban Indian centers at their specific request and as resources allow. Mountain-Pacific will provide project management services to facilitate the transformation to trauma-informed care, train staff on trauma-informed principles and approaches, design and track workflows for trauma screening, develop an emotionally safe environment, determine and ensure safeguards like compassion fatigue training to prevent secondary traumatic stress in staff, and foster partnerships for referral sources that can monitor and maintain the ongoing mental and emotional well-being of patients and staff.

2019 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.