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 Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

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: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>