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UC Davis School of Medicine Awarded $1 Million Grant for Healthcare Programs Targeting Northern California Native Americans Communities

The University of California, Davis received a $1 million grant for healthcare initiatives targeting Native American communities in Northern California, confirmed a press release issued Aug. 9 on the School of Medicine website.

The Sacramento-based medical education institution will receive the funds through a research grant awarded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. Plans for the $1 million include training representatives from participating organizations on effective culturally appropriate measures to reduce type-2 diabetes and obesity among members of Northern California Native American communities.

Native American communities set to participate in the research grant programs include the
Round Valley Indian Tribes of Covelo, California, and Mendocino County, as well as American Indian communities receiving medical service from the Northern Valley Indian Health, Inc., including groups in the Glenn and Colusa County, and portions of Tehama and Butte County.

According to recent studies conducted by researchers at the UC Davis School of Medicine, over one-third of American Indian adults in the U.S. are considered obese—in comparison, around 22 percent of non-Hispanic whites fall into this category. The study also found that 68 percent of the adults from surveyed Native American communities are obese, while 24 percent of children ages 2-5 years old have body mass index measurements in the overweight range.

The study’s lead investigator, Dr. Dennis Styne, explained how the federal funding will provide a valuable opportunity for health experts to positively impact the Native American communities taking part in the two-year health initiative:

“This will be a unique situation in which university health researchers will collaborate with community members to teach them how to perform research on their own communities, to ensure that the research is culturally appropriate, acceptable and helpful,” stated Dr. Styne, the UC Davis School of Medicine’s Yocha Dehe Endowed Chair in Pediatric Endocrinology.

Obesity is linked to type-2 diabetes and other serious ailments like heart and kidney disease, nerve damage, blindness and early death. The UC Davis Medical Center describes obesity as a “disease of disparity” that effects greater numbers of people in ethnic minority and low-income categories.

Obesity-related conditions like diabetes reportedly affect 2.6 times as many American Indians as non-Hispanic whites. In Northern California’s Northern Valley and Round Valley Native American communities 11 percent of the population has type-2 diabetes.

Until the rates of diabetes, obesity and other complicated illnesses are reduced, Northern California communities will require the expertise of skilled and caring healthcare professionals, such as Sacramento medical assistants  and
San Francisco medical assistants. See how a quality training program at Unitek College can get you started on an in-demand career as a East Bay or San Jose medical assistant today!

For additional information on the UC Davis School of Medicine, Northern Valley Indian Health, Inc.,
National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health, and the Round Valley Indian Health Center, please visit: