Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research

News Post

Healthy Native Youth Implementation Toolbox Helps Tribal Educators Implement Effective Adolescent Health Programs

Published: June 15, 2023

A graphic depicting Healthy Native Youth Implementation Toolbox steps, including Gather, Choose, Prepare, Implement, and Grow
Depiction of the steps in the Healthy Native Youth Implementation Toolbox planning process.

The Healthy Native Youth Implementation Toolbox is an online resource with tools, templates, and guidance to help tribal educators plan, implement and grow culturally-relevant and age-appropriate adolescent health programs for American Indian & Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth. The Toolbox is the product of CHPPR’s more than 10-year-long collaboration with the Healthy Native Youth collective, comprised of the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB), the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (ITCA).

“The UTHealth Houston School of Public Health is one of six Project Red Talon regional partners who provide outreach, education, and technical assistance in their regions to disseminate best practices for long-standing and critically emerging issues,” said Michelle Singer, Healthy Native Youth Project Manager. “UTH Houston is an important University partner in our collective work to end the syndemic of STIs, HIV, Hepatitis C, and substance use in AI/AN communities.”

AI/AN youth experience a number of disparities in sexual health, including the highest teen birth rate among racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Tailored evidence-based interventions (EBIs) could help reduce these disparities, but finding evidence-based interventions (EBIs) that are age-appropriate, culturally-relevant, and reflect the values and learning styles of Native communities is often difficult. While such EBIs do exist, a number of factors, including limited trained personnel or resources, prevent wide adoption and implementation.

The Healthy Native Youth Implementation Toolbox is intended as a one-stop-shop portal for educators and health advocates to help them facilitate the adoption and implementation of such EBIs. The Toolbox consists of a suite of culturally-relevant, health promotion programs for AI/AN youth, a resource tools library comprising 20+ implementation support tools, and testimonials from individuals who have successfully implemented similar sexual health programs in their local community settings.

To develop the toolkit, the project team employed principles of implementation mapping to adapt iCHAMPSS (CHoosing And Maintaining Effective Programs for Sex Education in Schools), a theory-based, online decision support system, to the specific needs of Native Communities. The team used an iterative design process, incorporating input from Native practitioners and academicians, to ensure that the Toolbox reflects community values and needs.

The results of early usability tests are promising. A majority of Toolbox users rated it as credible, impactful for EBI adoption, implementation, and maintenance, and easy to use. If proven effective, the Toolbox has the potential to increase implementation of culturally-relevant sexual health EBIs in Native communities, promoting health equity among AI/AN youth.

The Healthy Native Youth project at the NPAIHB coordinates the Project Red Talon (PRT) National Network, which also includes the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board and the John Hopkins University Center for Indigenous Health. Project Red Talon is funded by the Indian Health Service HIV Program and the Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative Fund.