Efforts Call for Reducing Suicide Among Alaska Native, American Indian Youth; Provide Health Information for Asian, Pacific Islander Communities
The following highlights efforts that seek to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.
- Alaska: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) on Wednesday in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requested $1.2 million to fund a study aimed at understanding the causes of suicide among Alaska Natives and American Indians and reducing the number of suicides among the groups. The study was proposed by Commissioner Warren Zapol of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and would examine mental and behavioral health issues among Alaska Natives and American Indians. Murkowski noted that the suicide rate among these groups is 70% higher than among the U.S. population and that suicide is the second leading cause of death for American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 10 to 24. "Suicide affects our Native communities in epidemic proportions, and we must do all we can to support our clinicians, communities and leaders to address the issue of youth suicides," Murkowski said (Murkowski release, 5/27).
- Asian, Pacific Islander communities: The Asian & Pacific Islander American Forum on Thursday launched the Health Information Network to provide information and resources on health issues affecting Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities. The network will provide tools for communication among advocates, policymakers and community leaders, as well as a directory of organizations serving these populations. In addition, the forum is collaborating with HHS' Office of Minority Health, the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations to provide information on public health information through the network (USAsian Wire, 5/28).