Collaborating with the Health Communications Research Lab, this project seeks to understand reactions to the Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) new graphic health warning labels on cigarette packages among diverse populations of youth and young adults, as well as adult smokers. Findings will help the FDA to plan and develop more effective anti-smoking media campaigns.
Collaborating with the Prevention Research Center, the Buder Center is researching federal and tribal obesity prevention strategies and methods used within Native communities across the United States. Being one of the most urgent health problems tribes seek to eliminate, obesity intensifies and often causes health disparities such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, asthma, sleep apnea, low self-esteem, depression, and social discrimination. Childhood obesity, which is growing at a faster rate among AIAN than any other race, is a pressing public health challenge.
Literature reviews are being conducted on AIAN in the field of Social Work. Currently, projects include leadership development, student retention, student recruitment, alumni development, university-tribal relationships, and faculty recruitment.
In collaboration with the Buder Center, two MSW candidates created a report entitled “Supporting American Indian and Alaska Native Social Work Student Retention: Alumni Mentoring and Native Specific Practicum Sites.” Disparities exist for AIAN students in higher education. Past research has shown that AIAN student retention improves if AIAN alumni mentors are utilized and if students participate in Native specific practicum sites. They used geographic information systems (GIS) to develop a spatial map of Buder alumni and Native specific practicum sites. They provided the following recommendations based on their findings: 1) strategically develop connections with Buder Scholar alumni and practicum sites in identified high density areas, ‘cluster’ areas, 2) disseminate information to current Buder Scholars about cluster areas, 3) increase, in collaboration with the Field Office, the number of Native specific practicum sites in cluster areas, and 4) support the recruitment and hiring of AIAN faculty at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
Pending approval, the Buder Center will work in collaboration with the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Washington University in St. Louis Medical Center to implement the All Nations Breath of Life tobacco cessation program. The program is designed to respect the sacred nature of tobacco to many AIAN people and recognizes that not all AIAN people use tobacco for spiritual or cultural reasons. This program consists of group and individual session, with the group sessions being 15 participants or less. All educational materials are designed specifically for AIAN people. This research project will begin in the Spring of 2011.
In collaboration, the CSD and the Buder Center used a mixed methods research project to study saving for education in American Indian communities in North Carolina. Qualitative research in the study has five objectives: 1) To investigate whether American Indian parents save for postsecondary education, 2) To explore culturally acceptable methods of saving from an American Indian perspective, 3) To identify specific design features of financial instruments that would facilitate saving for postsecondary education among American Indian parents, 4) To address barriers to saving for education that exist in American Indian communities, and 5) To identify ways these barriers to saving for education may be overcome. Data collection for this part of the project is underway.
The study also employed a quantitative approach to test indicators of saving for postsecondary education among American Indian adults, and to spatially assess North Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan (Plan) awareness. This part of the research is complete. Findings are that the only significant indicator of saving for college is parents’ educational expectations for their children. Other variables—including income, homeownership, and credit card debt—are not significant. The finding that income is not associated with saving is the opposite of findings in studies with non-Native study participants. We also learned that Plan awareness in tribal and urban Indian communities is low, although there is a relatively high degree of Plan ownership among sample participants compared to 2007 Plan ownership in general.
Future research will examine innovative ways to construct 529 College Savings Plans so that they are accessible and attractive to American Indian parents and communities.
The Buder Center, in collaboration with the Social Systems Design Lab, hosted two facilitated dialogues using Systems Dynamics regarding social work practice in Indian Country. The goal of Systems Dynamics is to improve the mental models that stakeholders use to understand and change a system. The priorities identified during these dialogues will establish the foundations for future alumni professional projects. Over 55 alumni, faculty, staff, students, Buder family and constituents participated in the dialogues. Several causal maps were created – Buder Substructure/Allies, Ceremony, and Education/Role Models – from participant feedback to display the ways in which Buder alumni are currently influencing citizen wellness in Indian Country as well as identify areas where this network can be strengthened.
This study was conducted using the community-based participatory research model and was designed to investigate the current asset holdings of one Native community by asking its members to define "assets" for themselves and their community. This project resulted in a report entitled "Dialogues on Assets in Native Communities: Recording a Native Perspective on the Definition and Benefits of Retaining and Building Assets" and was funded by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
Over ten Native communities were engaged in a community-based participatory research project to examine the utilization of EITC as an asset-building tool in their respective communities. This project has resulted in two reports, one entitled "Contributions of the Earned Income Tax Credit to Community Development in Indian Country". Funding has been provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.