While reports on progress in achieving Healthy People 2010 objectives show minor decreases in some areas for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations, significant disparities still remain in chronic disease prevention/management such as mental health concerns (youth suicide and domestic violence), cancer, and diabetes (Casper et al., 2005; CDC, 2003; Edwards, 2001; Robin, Chester, Rasmussen, Jaranson, & Goldman, 1997; Strickland, 1997; Swan and Edwards, 2003). The burden of health disparities is especially heavy for AI/AN populations according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2003). In this discussion, we will focus on our research in priority areas amongAI/AN populations such as suicide prevention, cancer prevention and diabetes. Our aim is to highlight the importance of formative evaluation and qualitative approaches such as feasibility studies and focus groups combined with community based participatory research (CBPR) in laying the foundation for successful outcome and impact research that builds community capacity. Such approaches in health promotion evaluation are deemed crucial in balancing power, assuring culturally appropriate work to address community needs, and in addressing health inequalities in work with vulnerable populations. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
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