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Rural Health Information Hub

Implementation Considerations for Preventing Injuries among American Indian/Alaska Native People

Injuries are the leading cause of death among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people between the ages of 1 and 44.

Considerations for implementing unintentional injury prevention programs in rural tribal communities include:

  • Connecting with the tribal council to ensure that you have its support and that proper procedures are taken for implementing a program within their community. Tribal council support is important for successful outreach to tribal communities.
  • Being mindful of timing of outreach, including scheduling events during tribal events that attract many people
  • Ensuring culturally responsive outreach and messaging, such as using tribal languages on billboards and other materials where appropriate
  • Engaging trusted messengers, such as well-known tribal leaders or healthcare staff, to appear on promotional materials and speak in favor of the injury prevention topic
  • Obtaining letters of support from tribal councils or other governing bodies to help maintain buy-in for injury prevention programs when council members change over time
  • Establishing partnerships with other local agencies and organizations involved in injury prevention to maximize limited funding for services
  • Understanding tribal laws focused on unintentional injury prevention may differ from other state and local laws, for example, laws that address motor vehicle safety such as child restraint laws on roads owned by tribal governments

The Tribal Injury Prevention Resource Center (TIPRC) provides free technical assistance to all federally recognized tribes. Other rural communities and organizations serving AI/AN people can also access free webinars, fact sheets, and other resources that may support prevention activities. Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) often have their own tribal injury prevention programs and can also help provide guidance on injury-related topics.

The Rural Health Equity Toolkit provides additional considerations for implementing programs that serve AI/AN people.

Resources to Learn More

Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention in Eight American Indian/Alaska Native Communities: Results from the 2010–2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tribal Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention Program
Presents findings from a study measuring seat belt use using traffic safety data collected from eight tribal communities. All tribal communities participating implemented evidence-based strategies supporting the use of seat belts with the goal to decrease motor vehicle injuries and deaths within their communities.
Author(s): Crump, C. E., Letourneau, R. J., Billie, H., Zhang, X., & West, B.
Citation: Public Health, 176, 29-35
Date: 11/2019

Selected Evidence-Based Strategies for Preventing Injuries
Provides a detailed list of recommended evidence-based strategies for preventing unintentional injuries in tribal communities.
Organization(s): Indian Health Service Injury Prevention Program
Date: 1/2021

Tribal Injury Prevention Cooperative Agreement Program (TIPCAP) Newsletters
Repository of newsletters providing information on the progress of implementing injury prevention programs in Indian Country.
Organization(s): Indian Health Service