Traditional Relationships Improve Contemporary Health

Project Term: 24 months; Ended 2017
Grant Amount: $50,000

For this project, Messengers for Health worked to broaden their cancer screening outreach program (which previously focused on women) to include colon cancer screening for men and implemented a culturally-based chronic illness self-management program. Messengers for Health is a non-profit organization on the Crow Indian Reservation and has been working in cancer screening since 1996, in partnership with Professor Suzanne Christopher at Montana State University, using a community-based participatory research framework. For the cancer screening outreach project, several Crow Indian men were successfully recruited and trained to serve as health advisors for their communities. These men helped spread the word about colorectal cancer awareness and the importance of early screening to prevent colon cancer. In addition, the chronic illness self-management project successfully began facilitating an intervention with their first group of participants. Participants attended sessions on topics including gaining a better understanding of chronic illness, promoting self-advocacy, and improving personal self-care. Antidotally, participants expressed benefits to their overall health due to the support group intervention activities. Both programs represent new areas of outreach and intervention for the Crow community.

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