HP/DP Wellness Program: Harvard University Initiatives

Problem Statement

The health disparities and health outcomes between American Indians/Alaskan Natives and the general population has been documented and a constant public health concern for over a hundred years. Currently the incidence of tuberculosis is six time that of the overall US population, diabetes is also six times more prevalent, accidents three point five times more prevalent, alcohol abuse six times more prevalent, and suicide two point five times more prevalent.

The Indian Health Service is funded at one-half the federal per capita of federal prisoners. At any given time approximately 20% of the physician jobs at IHS are unfilled. Recruitment and retention in rural locations are constant barriers to filling these positions. This proposal will initiate an assessment of needs, initial training of advanced life saving skill for emergency medicine personal, and planning for longitudinal follow-up and support at the Poplar Montana, Indian Health Service Clinic on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation by partnering resources from Brigham and Womens Emergency Medicine Department and the Harvard University Native American Program.

The Assiniboine & Sioux Tribes share the Fort Peck Reservation, which is located in northeastern Montana. The reservation encompasses four counties including Roosevelt, Valley, Sheridan, and Daniels County and is comprised of 2,093,124 acres. The tribe owns approximately 395,702 of those acres (Montana Indians, 1995). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Fort Peck Reservation has a total population of 10,321. The reservation is 110 miles long and 40 miles wide. Because of the poverty, extensive land area the reservation spans, and the number of people dwelling on the reservation, it has, historically, proven to be an extremely resource poor medical environment.

Goals and Outcomes


Conduct leadership forum with all partnering entities at Ft. Peck

Conduct onsite training in advanced life saving techniques with computerized life size simulators which allow the actual procedures to be practiced and reviewed.

Introduce Harvard Medical School trainees to public health service opportunities in Indian country (one resident and one medical student)

Achieve consensus on follow-up funding opportunities and continuing education that can be supported through established video-conferencing equipment that are in place


Formalizing partnership between Ft. Peck IHS and Brigham & Women/HUNAP for continued resource and training

Advance emergency skills for Ft Peck health providers

Joint submission of grants to continue distant support and health care training

Improved survival and medical outcome for Ft Peck tribal members

Fort Peck Tribes HP/DP
Wellness Program
P.O. Box 1027
200 G Street East
Poplar, Montana 59255

Phone: (406) 768-3383
Fax: (406) 768-3383

Email: krsmoker@yahoo.com