Health Through the Lens of Native American Communities

Give people cameras and they’ll show you what they see.

Members of the Little Earth of United Tribes urban Indian community in Minnesota and the Penobscot Nation in Maine were recently given the chance to do just that through a photovoice project organized by the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and funded by a grant from the Aetna Foundation. Participants photographed what they saw as challenges to healthy eating and an active lifestyle in their respective communities.

“Through our grantmaking across the country, we’ve learned that the best solutions to health inequities will combine the insights of the communities themselves with proven, best-practice approaches,” said Alyse Sabina, MPH, National Program Director.  “We’re proud to be a part of this innovative step toward improving health in Native American communities.”

Photovoice is an innovative method that empowers participants to frame potential solutions to social and environmental health challenges through photography and group discussion. With a generous grant from the Aetna Foundation, a team at Geisel’s Center for Health Equity used photovoice to gain a better understanding of health within these two distinct Native American communities—one urban and one rural—directly from the people who live there. In addition, the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute will share the findings of this project through its programs, national meetings, and social media.

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