The 25th anniversary campaign "Changing Native America's Future—and the World" will sustain and accelerate what founding director Dr. Mathu Santosham built over the last 25 years: a highly effective incubator for promoting world health, starting with American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.
Since Dr. Santosham founded the Center in 1991, our aim has remained true: To work in partnership with tribes to build local capacity and model programs to tackle major health problems, and then send those solutions around the world.
A Legacy of Success
The Center’s early work with tribal communities on demonstrating the efficacy of oral rehydration solution (ORS), vaccine against Hib meningitis, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus disease, have saved an estimated 60 million lives. Apache and Navajo tribes then asked Dr. Santosham to help address other pressing problems: suicide, unprepared parenting, adolescent health, and a growing burden of chronic diseases.
Landmark impact has been made through the training and employment of Native staff to deliver rigorous home-visiting models to:
- Promote parenting, maternal behavioral health and children’s early development
- Prevent and manage obesity and diabetes; and
- Promote mental health and reduce youth suicide and substance use.
Simultaneously, new strengths-based programs are tackling gaps in access to healthy foods, high school completion and job readiness through a variety of strategies, including:
- Renewal of traditional agricultural practices through school, family and community gardens,
- Sport-centered youth development to promote healthy lifestyles and high school completion, and
- Youth entrepreneurship, with a pipeline to further education and business development.
In addition, through a $10 million endowment received in 2001, the Center forged a groundbreaking public health training program for Native people. It supports Scholarships and Training for American Indian and Alaska Native graduate and doctoral scholars at Johns Hopkins, and provides intensive public health training to over 100 American Indian community health leaders annually to improve their capacity to tackle their communities’ health problems.
Urgent Needs Remain
Relative to the overall U.S. population, American Indians and Alaska Natives face dramatic disparities in health–with rates similar to those in the developing world. Today, the Center’s work is focused on developing, implementing and scaling evidence-based, culturally tailored programs to address the urgent needs of Native communities—including obesity, diabetes, suicide, depression, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS—that are projected to be among the largest threats to world health by 2025.
The Center has made major inroads in designing and proving community-based models to address these disparities and also build tribal communities’ own capacity and leadership. By continuing research, development and dissemination of effective public health strategies in partnership with tribes, the Center can improve the future of Native America as well as help under-resourced populations worldwide.
The Center is uniquely qualified to accomplish this goal: based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the #1 school of public health in the country, the Center for American Indian Health blends cutting-edge science with a decades-long trust relationships with tribes. However, to maximize its impact, the Center must build its endowment and discretionary funding in order to recruit the most talented staff, remain responsive to new knowledge and trends, and disseminate positive results across the nation and the globe.
To secure the Center’s future and provide permanent support for its continued growth, the Campaign is raising $15 million. The campaign has bold goals:
1. Provide Scholarships and Training to 500 more American Indian scholars over the next decade
2. Scale our proven, effective programs to hundreds more tribal and other under-resourced communities across the world, including those focusing on:
- Nutritional Promotion and Obesity and Diabetes Prevention
- Mental Health including Preventing Suicide and Substance Abuse
- Sexual & Reproductive Health, including Preventing HIV/AIDS and other STIs
- NativeVision youth development
- Entrepreneurship & Workforce Development
- Early Childhood Development and Family Strengthening
3. Recruit the best and brightest American Indian and allied scholars to propel our mission
Campaign Legacy gifts will forever connect donors with the mission of saving the lives of the nation’s most vulnerable peoples, while advancing health and wellness for the world.