New project aims to reduce smokeless tobacco use in American Indian communities

The College of Health Institute for Indigenous Studies (IIS) has been awarded nearly $1.8 million from the American Cancer Society (ACS). The project will test the efficacy of a culturally tailored program aimed at reducing American Indian smokeless tobacco use.

The project will include Professor Christine Makosky Daley, principal investigator and chair of the Department of Community and Population Health; and co-investigators, COH professor and IIS Director Sean Daley, COH assistant Professor and computational scientist Tom McAndrew, IIS senior research scientist Jason Hale, and IIS senior research scientist Charley Lewis. The research team also includes Ryan Goeckner, Jordyn Gunville and Luke Swimmer.

The project focuses on multi-tribal American Indian communities in urban locations that face disparities related to greater exposure to toxic chewing tobacco and high poverty rates, coupled with low access to care.

What is most exciting about this project is that it is a program that was designed with input from Native people from the beginning and will now be run by many of those same individuals. Our goal is always to create programs with communities that will ultimately be turned over to them."

Professor Christine Makosky Daley, Principal Investigator

The program, All Nations Snuff Out Smokeless (ANSOS), utilizes a waitlist control design. It marks the first randomized trial of a smokeless tobacco cessation program designed specifically for American Indians.

In addition, the project assesses individual and programmatic factors that may help participants quit chewing tobacco. It is framed in community-based participatory research, including community members throughout the entire research process, to empower individuals to take control of their health and research related to their health. The goal of this unique process is sustained health improvement.

Chewing tobacco use and the resulting cancers continue to be a particular issue for the American Indian population. American Indians use chewing tobacco at rates twice that of other racial/ethnic groups.

The grant program, which is for $1,797,750, is slated to last five years starting this month.

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