Project Abstract Summary Squaxin Island Tribe FY2023
The Squaxin Island Tribe is a federally-recognized Tribe whose service area extends to parts of Mason and Thurston counties (Washington State), and includes a service area population of approximately 2,629 people (generally, this is the number of people who can access Tribal services). Seventy-two percent of Reservation households fall within HUD’s low and moderate income limits for Mason County. The project implementation site is located in a rural area 15 miles from Olympia and 10 miles from Shelton in Mason County, Washington State. The approximately 3,000 acres of trust lands, along with adjacent fee lands, represent the current boundaries of the Reservation community. It consists of Tribal offices, a museum, health clinic, education, elder's building, and 140 Tribal housing units plus 4 recreational vehicles. There are currently 1,112 enrolled Tribal members, with 450 living on the reservation. Many Tribal members (at least 30%) are unemployed or underemployed, with limited access to a variety of services in the rural community.
The casino, a mile down the hill, has a convenience store attached with the gas station. The closest fruits and vegetables are available at Shelton grocery stores 10 miles away along the highway. Tribal members participate in fishing for salmon, hunting for elk and deer, and clam digging as a food and income source.
The part-time Diabetes Coordinator, an employee of the Health Clinic for 19 years, is physically located in a building across the parking lot from the clinic. Her primary work includes the case management of people with diabetes with the medical providers at the Clinic. She also performs the annual Diabetes Audit, and grant reports. In addition to the grant activities, she leads diabetes team meetings. She partners with other community organizations and Tribal departments for activities, referrals, and networking.
The Tribe’s diabetes program, population, and therefore the annual Diabetes Audits have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as people didn’t come to the Clinic for routine care. We continue to have COVID-19 cases in the community, but still show success with keeping our diabetes population healthy. In most categories, our results exceed the positive levels of both the Portland Area and IHS. For example, in the 2020 audit, our combined outcome measures, A1c < 8.0, statin prescribed, and mean BP <140/<90, are at 44%. (Portland area was 20%, IHS was 22-24%).
For FY2023, we chose glycemic (blood sugar) control as our best practice, as our 2022 Diabetes Audit indicated we were at 66%. Our providers and community indicated that bringing blood sugars in a healthy range is a priority to reduce diabetes complications. In addition, we will work toward increasing our influenza (flu shot) rates above 49% and increasing our dental exam rates above 68%.
In addition to our chosen best practice and other focus areas, the community priorities include lifestyle changes to combat most health related issues. Our activity/services discussed in the project narrative Activity/Services #1(E1.1) Health Policies in the community and #3 (E3.1) Diabetes Prevention Activities address these priorities.