Consultant, Psychiatry & Psychology
Rochester campus of Mayo Clinic
Approximately 66 percent of Alaska Natives living in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region (Y-K) of Alaska use tobacco products. As a step toward building feasible and effective methods for promoting tobacco cessation among Alaska Natives, Mayo Clinic and Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) have partnered to help understand tobacco use among YKHC employees, many of whom serve as the primary point of patient contact in several of these close-knit, rural communities. Research suggests the impact of health workers' behaviors on their patients' motivation and confidence for behavior change offers a unique opportunity for intervention development, which could have positive lasting effects in the community. Using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach, we developed a survey to assess tobacco use and intervention preferences among YKHC employees and will implement the survey in the proposed project. The findings will assist YKHC in its goal of promoting health and wellness among 1,290 employees (59 percent of whom are Alaska Native) by identifying areas for growth and change pertaining to adoption of health behaviors among staff. The findings will also be used as preliminary data for NIH grant applications to reduce tobacco use among community health aides and is a mentoring opportunity for post-doctoral research fellow Carrie A. Bronars, Ph.D., (co-investigator) in her development as a health disparities researcher.