The Injury Prevention Program in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) was established in 2015; it was established to provide data driven and evidence based interventions within targeted key areas of unintentional injury concern specific to the Community. The Injury Prevention Program identified elder fall prevention, traumatic brain injury, non-motorized vehicle safety, and child/adult transportation safety as critical public health concerns needing attention.
The elder/senior Community in SRPMIC is an important group of people, critical to the foundation of the tribal structure. These elder/senior people are the connection to the past, to traditions of ceremony and spiritual well being, cultural components about the land, rivers, and mountains and the connection they have to the people living within them, and the language that identifies each tribe represented in the Community. Supporting the wellness and health of the elder/senior Community is important for the past, present, and future generations.
Strengthening an elder fall prevention program, building upon the good work already done in the Community already, will keep elder/senior adults accountable for their health, aware of the responsibility they have to maintain physical and mental wellness, and promote an environment that maintains the individual freedom of movement they will have by participation in fall prevention programs. Yoga and Tai Chi have proven effective and popular strategies for the Community older adults. The results of pilot testing and developing the fall prevention programming so that it accommodates the specific health concerns and cultural components for the Community is just the first step in a greater picture of engagement, collaboration, and health advocacy for elder/senior people. Continued support through the TIPCAP grant will allow fall prevention programming to take greater steps in supporting Yoga and Tai Chi as viable, successful evidence programs to combat falls.
A “call to action” was sent out to all programs working in SRPMIC in 2019. The call was to combat the growing epidemic of opioid abuse harming families and taking lives in the Community. The Injury Prevention took this as an opportunity to partner, collaborate, and build bridges of support with key stakeholders in the Community who were affected by this public health concern. An opioid abuse prevention working group was established and evidence-based interventions were examined for effectiveness and relevance for the Community needs. An intervention was selected and a lock box prevention pilot project was conducted. The results of this small study proved successful, displaying that offering clients the means to safeguard their medication lead to more clients maintaining safe control of their opioid medications.
Supporting the Community efforts to make changes to adverse health issues challenging the members is a priority for the Injury Prevention Program. Taking the knowledge and experience of the small lock box program and expanding it into a Community wide initiative has potential of creating drastic change for the future. A lock box provides ownership and responsibility to take care of opioid medication and keep them in a place that is safe and away from the hands they shouldn’t be in.
It is the goal of the Injury Prevention Program in Salt River to raise the health status and decrease injuries for the Community through increased communication with Community members, collaboration with SRPMIC programs, and establishing efficacy within our program structure.