The United States population growth rate continues to increase gradually by less than 1% per year. Over the past decade, American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIANs) population increased by 26.7%.1 According to 2010 census, there are approximately 5.2 million AIANs living in the United States representing 1.7% of the U.S. population.2 By 2050, the projected population of AIANs will reach an estimated 8.6 million.2 Alaska Natives (AN) comprise of the second largest population group in Alaska. They make up a bigger percentage of Alaska’s population than Native Americans in any other state. AN faces disadvantages when it comes to health care equity, quality, and accessibility. It is important to address health disparities in AN, since
…show more content…
Due to its size, Alaska averages slightly over one person per square mile.6 AN live in all areas of the state from small isolated communities to major urban centers. In 2000, 43% of Natives lived in urban Alaska areas.7 However AN living in urban areas, account for only 10% of the urban population. Whereas the other 57% of AN reside in rural or remote communities. AN living in these areas make up the majority of the population in villages and about 75% in surrounding communities.7 Although these groups differ in culture, language, education, income, social and economic status, their access to health care are similar.
AN communities face many health changes and continue to experience lower health status when compared to non-Natives. Mortality rates are 33% higher for AN compared to the USW.8 During 2004-2008, AN experienced an average of 28.7 years of potential life lost from all-causes.8 Leading causes of death among AN are cancer, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes, pneumonia and influenza, alcohol abuse, unintentional injuries, suicide, and homicide. Cancer is the number one leading cause of death among AN. During 2004-2007, 1 out of every 5 AN deaths was attributable to cancer.9 Heart disease is the second cause of death among AN followed by unintentional injury. However when unintentional and intentional injuries are combined, they account for