Developing collective efforts to improve Native American health

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) convened representatives from 41 philanthropic organizations from across the country in Minneapolis in October 2015. Participants focused on the grave problem of Native American nutritional health and agreed on key steps and planning to develop solutions.

The roundtable resulted in two major outcomes:

1. Through additional outreach to participating organizations, AHA and SMSC will identify strategies to help support the development of plans for investing in Indian Country and collaborating on projects.

2. Officials began planning a second convening in the first quarter of 2016. The next roundtable will explore advocacy opportunities and discuss ways to build technical assistance, training, and other supports needed to succeed.

Organizations which were unable to attend are still welcome to join the effort to improve Native nutrition and learn from the discussions held at the roundtable.

The impetus for the first-of-its-kind gathering came from the SMSC’s Seeds of Native Health campaign to improve Native American nutrition and from the recent release of Feeding Ourselves, a comprehensive report commissioned by the AHA and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that examines the barriers to food access and their link to health disparities in Indian Country.