Indigenous Empowerment for Healthy Lifestyles

Indigenous Empowerment for Healthy Lifestyles

The Indigenous Empowerment for Healthy Lifestyles program is funded by the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country grant, given by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The mission of this program is to support healthy behaviors for American Indian/Alaskan Native communities to attain long term sustainability goals. Our focus while utilizing this grant is to decrease the onset of diabetes, increase the support of breastfeeding mothers, and help manage hypertension. We work with organizations in the Flagstaff area that employ AI/AN populations to achieve these goals through policy initiatives, and by providing resources to these worksites. This is done by raising awareness, and increasing knowledge, about breastfeeding, hypertension, and diabetes.
What This Program Entails:
  • Working with organizations to establish worksite wellness, and breastfeeding programs, to address the prevention of obesity and diabetes
  • Creating a breastfeeding friendly environment by posting breastfeeding signs and creating more breastfeeding rooms for mothers
  • Creating a committee working around wellness living within worksites (organizations) to get their employees more physically active
  • Provide health education classes to worksites’ patients of our Family Health Center, who are living with diabetes, obesity, and/or hypertension
  • Community Health Representatives Program

Community Health & Representatives

Through the Indigenous Empowerment for Healthy Lifestyles program, the Community Health Representatives (CHR) are responsible for providing community health care services that support patients living with chronic disease(s), and connecting patients to the right initiatives and resources. They are the liaison between patients in the community, our NACA providers, and Health Promotion staff and programs. The CHRs deliver quality health promotion and disease prevention in the community. The concept of the CHR program is to connect on a personal level with the patients and their families. In other words, they promote a healthy lifestyle to patients, and work with the health promotion staff and clinicians (medical providers and Behavior Health staff) to ensure a continuum of care. The Community Health Program:
  • Provides grants to 301 IHS, Tribal, and Urban Indian health programs in 35 states, to implement diabetes treatment and prevention services
  • Focuses on effective evidence-based intervention strategies using the SDPI Diabetes Best Practices
  • Uses a broad, community-based, public health approach to diabetes treatment and prevention for American Indian and Alaska Native people
  • Identifies and develops services and activities that address local concerns and needs


Breastfed babies are less likely to have:

• Ear infections
• Diarrhea
• Colds
• Flu

Babies were born to be breastfed. The Department of Health and Human Services encourages all women to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months before introducing solid foods and continue to breastfeed for 12 months and thereafter for as long as desired. Choosing to breastfeed honors the traditions of American Indian and Alaska Native families. The practice of breastfeeding respects our heritage and culture and strengthens our children, our communities, and our future.

Breastfeeding is especially important for American Indian and Alaska Native families. Many of our families and communities struggle with serious health problems such as obesity and diabetes. The people of Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, working together with the scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that breastfeeding lowers the risk of an infant becoming overweight and possibly developing diabetes in later life.

An Easy Guide To Breastfeeding for American Indian and Alaska Native Families, by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health

Honor Your Heart with a Registered Dietitian

When it comes to your health, making changes can be overwhelming. NACA has a registered dietitian on staff that can help support you in your health journey – whatever that means to you. Whether it’s learning how to add in more nutrition to your meals or managing a chronic condition, our dietitian is here for you. In addition to one-on-one sessions, we offer an Honor Your Heart class series for anyone interested in learning how to improve their heart health and health in general.

Melissa Goode

Registered Dietitian