Publication

Leveraging Culture to Address Health Inequalities: Examples from Native Communities - Workshop Summary


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Note: Proceedings contain the opinion of the presenters, but do NOT reflect the conclusions of the Health and Medicine Division or the National Academies. Learn more about the differences between Reports and Proceedings.

In Native American tradition, the medicine wheel encompasses four different components of health: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Health and well-being require balance within and among all four components. Therefore, whether someone remains healthy depends as much on what happens around that person as on what happens within.

On November 14, 2012, the IOM Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities held a workshop in Seattle, WA, to explore the ideas at the heart of the medicine wheel. The workshop brought together stakeholders to discuss the sizable health inequalities affecting Native American, Alaska Native, First Nation, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander populations and the potential role of culture to help reduce those inequalities. This document summarizes the workshop.