Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Arctic Study Asks How Native Youth Stay Healthy

16.02.2009
Researchers in four countries, including health educator Lisa Wexler of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, have begun a three-year study of how indigenous young men and women in Arctic communities avoid pitfalls such as alcohol abuse and suicide to become healthy adults.

A key to the $1.09 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s International Polar Year initiative is that it brings tribal leaders from five communities in Norway, Canada, Siberia and Alaska to collaborate with the social scientists. Over the coming year, they’ll listen together to life stories of up to 120 young adults who successfully avoided potentially life-crippling obstacles and have achieved a balance between the modern world and traditional culture.

The elders and researchers want to learn, simply, what works on the path to healthy adulthood. They’ll share findings, created new links where needed and start new programs based on the new knowledge.

Wexler of UMass Amherst and the university’s Institute for Global Health, with colleagues from five other universities will hold their first meeting with Inupiat, Yup’ik, Sami, Eveny and Inuit community leaders at Cambridge University in the UK on March 29. Wexler, a longtime resident of Kotzebue, Alaska, agrees with co-investigator Michael Kral of the University of Illinois, who points out that “We’re actually hoping to see the knowledge go sideways in this study.”

This approach is more acceptable to local people who too often see power in outsiders’ hands, Wexler and Kral say. Collaboration is an appropriate model because the knowledge is ultimately being gathered to benefit the communities. The process will uphold respect for cultural identity, subsistence lifestyles, basic human dignity and values, and a concept known in northwest Alaska as Inupiat Ilitqusiat, or “those things that make us who we are.”

Inupiat elder Willie Goodwin hopes the study will “open some doors to figure out how to support our youth in doing their best.” He and the social researchers know that much previous research focused on negative statistics and risk factors. They note that indigenous peoples’ resilience and healthy adaptation have not been adequately considered, while the impact of colonial and contemporary suffering has been extensively documented. They hope to identify similarities across communities, young peoples’ strengths and resources, and develop new ideas for supporting them.

Wexler says, “Our study fits well into the larger scope of what the people are trying to create in their communities and in the circumpolar region. We are trying to build onto and learn from what the community is already creating.”

Joe Garoutte of the Kotzebue Tribal Council says his community “has changed a lot for the better in the last 30 years.” He hopes the study will show participants how change affects today’s youth. Natar Ungalaq, a young sculptor from the Igloolik and Inuit communities in Nunavut, Canada, is eager to be a part of the project. “We already know what the problem is,” he says. Ungalaq, star of the movie, The Fast Runner, adds, “We need action. This is action. Let other people see successful young people.”

Wexler expects setting up steering committees, deciding on questions, agreeing on shared focus areas and recruiting participants to take about a year. Data collection and preliminary analysis will be conducted in the second year, followed by final analysis. Results will be reported not only in scholarly journals but in community presentations and on the Internet. The researchers will invite interested youth and community members to help shape the scientific study.

In addition to Wexler at UMass Amherst, other co-principal investigators are: James Allen and Gerald Mohatt, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Olga Ulturgasheva, Cambridge University, UK, and Eveny native of Topolinoye, Siberia; Michael Kral, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and University of Toronto; Kristine Nystad, Sami University College, Kautekeino, Norway, and Benedicte Ingstad, University of Oslo.

Lisa Wexler | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>