A partnership between Montana State University faculty and Crow men to work collaboratively to identify and address health issues of concern
The Crow Men’s Health Project began in 2007 as a partnership between Montana State University faculty and Crow men to work collaboratively to identify and address health issues of concern. Differing from other forms of research that typically involve a researcher bringing a project into a community and making it fit, this program hinges on a technique called community-based participatory research (CBPR), a research method in which community members and researchers work together. Researchers and members from the Crow community work together to establish trust, share power, and foster co-learning while addressing community-identified needs and health problems.
The partnership is coordinated by MSU researcher Paul Lachapelle, Boise State University researcher Tim Dunnagan and a five-member Crow Men’s Health Advisory Council responsible for creating a research environment to successful conduct research, interpret results, and determine how results should be used for action. Community meetings open to Crow men of all ages have been held at different locations on the reservation, and health experts have been brought in to present health data collected from existing sources. While working together to identify health problems, the issues identified by meeting attendees have been cancer, obesity, alcohol related diseases, diabetes, mental illness and heart disease. The Advisory Council has decided to focus on prostate and colorectal cancer; topics that have been raised repeatedly and discussed at length in community meetings.
Since the project began, the partnership has continued to show many positive results. The new collaborative effort has held numerous community meetings, received approval and support of the Crow tribal Chairmen, organized a tribal Ride for Health ceremony with 70 men participating in traditional attire to raise health awareness, and is drafting a formal tribal endorsement to be introduced into the Crow legislature. From here the project will continue community meetings, design data collection methods to better understand present and future health-related needs, and pursue long-term funding to address prostate-colorectal cancer interventions.
For more information, please visit http://crowmenshealth.org/