IA2 Project Featured Nationally by HHS: 1,000 Grandmothers: Safe Sleeping Initiative
August 18, 2016–Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
(ODPHP), showcased a recent IA2 project—“1,000 Grandmothers”—in its Who’s Leading the Leading Health Indicators (LHI) series. The series highlights programs that successfully address 12 topic areas throughout 26 Healthy People 2020 critical indicators, including Maternal, Infant, and Child Health. The HHS e-bulletin is at https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/healthy-people-in-action/story/1000-grandmothers-project-helps-4-tribes-increase-knowledge-of .
The 1,000 Grandmothers project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was conducted for the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI), and in partnership with four tribes: the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (NC), Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (ND), Hannahville Indian Community (MI), and the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians (MI).
Targeted safe sleep education is critical for tribal communities, which experience sudden unexplained infant death (SUID) rates 3.5 times that of the U.S. overall.
The goal was to improve infant safe sleeping practices through an intergenerational intervention that creates meaningful opportunities for elder engagement with younger tribal members– experiences that are diminishing in many tribal communities, due in part to changing family structures, urbanization, and acculturation. The project brought young Native parents together with elders for traditional crafts sessions, mentoring, and informal discussions of both traditional tribal wisdom and current safe sleep practices in structured sessions.
The national project support team, consisting of staff from IA2 and MPHI, worked collaboratively with each tribe on every facet of local project development. Tribes retained key decision-making authority. The project team provided technical assistance–both onsite and remotely–through knowledgeable, invested and readily available external support for both operational issues and expertise in SUID and safe sleep practices.
“This is the first Native program to earn national recognition for Healthy People 2020,” said IA2 executive director Dave Baldridge. “Many innovative Indian health projects show great promise, and we’re proud to be one of them.”