Navajo Nation Success Story: Efforts to Reduce the Prevalence of Commercial Tobacco Use and the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

Strategy 2 Reduced prevalence of commercial tobacco use

In the second year of Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC), the Navajo Community Health Representative Outreach Program organized with their partners, the University of Arizona and Navajo Area Indian Health Services, Basic Tobacco Intervention Skills (BTIS) of Native Communities trainings. The Navajo Community Health Representative Outreach Program hosted six BTIS of Native Communities trainings for their Community Health Representatives (CHRs) via Zoom. 34 CHRs completed the Instructor BTIS course and 27 completed the Basic BTIS training.

The BTIS certification program is an educational segment of the Tobacco Dependence Treatment Education Program. The objective is for CHRs to be confident and competent in providing low-intensity commercial tobacco cessation treatment interventions and provide referrals to a healthcare facility. The course is focused on evidence-based commercial tobacco cessation treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications.

As part of the tobacco-free campaign, Navajo Nation is reinforcing healthy behavior choices through promotion of tobacco cessation. The CHRs distribute infographic hand-outs to patients, their families, and communities in line with the GHWIC mission. These infographics also have a resource map of the commercial tobacco cessation treatment programs that serve Navajo communities.

Strategy 3 Reduced incidence of Type 2 Diabetes

Navajo Nation increased efforts to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes through two methods:

  • Assisting with health fairs
  • Leading community-wide educational events.

During Window Rock High School Homecoming Week, 57 participants played the Health Jeopardy game with questions developed by Navajo Nation’s Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC) program. The program also distributed 200 bags containing diabetes and other health information, face masks, hand sanitizer, and toothbrushes at the Homecoming Parade.

Future plans in this work include creating a quarterly community newsletter and publishing ads in the Navajo Times newspaper and local radio stations. The planned newsletter will highlight both the CHR Program and Navajo National Special Diabetes Prevention Programs work, updated announcements, upcoming annual events, provide health education, and tips for healthy eating and exercise.