I am pleased to inform that the Needs Assessment of the Urban Indian Health Program and the Communities it Serves Report to Congress (RTC) has been finalized.
The needs assessment of the Urban Indian Health Program (UIHP) provides estimates of the current health status and health care needs of the urban American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations residing in urban centers across the United States. The report provides examples of how Urban Indian Organizations (UIO) assist public and private health care entities in providing health care services to urban AI/AN and assisting urban AI/AN with accessing and utilizing these health services resources. The report also defines gaps between unmet health needs and resources available for the urban AI/AN populations.
The UIHP needs assessment results and outcomes:
- Estimate the population of urban AI/AN who are or could be recipients of health care or referral services;
- Estimate the current health status of urban AI/AN;
- Estimate the current health care needs of urban AI/AN;
- Identify all public and private health services resources which are or may be available to urban AI/AN;
- Determine the use of public and private health services resources by urban AI/AN;
- Assist such health services resources in providing services to urban AI/AN;
- Assist urban AI/AN in utilizing health services resources;
- provide basic health education to urban AI/AN;
- Identify gaps between unmet health needs of urban AI/AN and the resources available to meet such needs; and
- Offer recommendations on methods of improving health service programs to meet the needs of urban AI/AN.
While progress has been made, the RTC describes challenges that UIO continue to encounter with integrating behavioral health into primary care, improving infrastructure and capacity, increasing health service resources and exploring potential new sites for UIHP expansion. The study results will be incorporated into a UIHP Strategic Plan to be published in December 2016.
Sherriann Moore, an enrolled member of the Rosebud "Sicangu" Lakota Tribe in South Dakota, is the Acting Director of the Office of Urban Indian Health Programs. The IHS Office of Urban Indian Health Program supports contracts and grants to programs funded under Title V of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.