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George Warren Brown Analysis: Special Needs American Indian Children Face More Hurdles

logo-gwb-largeAmerican Indian children with special health care needs are more likely to suffer from asthma, migraines, mental retardation and other maladies than their white counterparts, according to an analysis done by students at the Washington University in St. Louis George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

For instance, 41 percent of American Indian/Alaskan Native children with special health care needs showed behavioral problems, 13 percent more than white children from this group. And 45 percent suffered from asthma, 8 percent more than white children, the analysis said.

Little research has been done on the health care status of American Indian/Alaskan Native children with special health care needs. University students Electa Hare and Amanda Blackhorse analyzed 2005-2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs data with guidance from Assistant Professor Paul Shattuck.

The analysis underscores the need for more resources to help American Indian/Alaskan Native children with special health care needs, the university said.

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  1. I think America has a “Native American” problem in the same way that Germany has a “Jewish” problem, but the difference is that Germany acknowledge its crimes. Social work must do more to help the First People, who were the majority until they were invaded.

  2. Speaking from an American Indian perspective, there is no doubt that additional research is needed in the area of health needs of AIAN indigenous peoples. The health disparities present in both rural and urban communities is tragic. The federal termination policies of the 1950’s were an attempt to assimilate AIAN to the point that the many cultures would cease to exist and led to even greater disparities due to loss of tribal recognition and therefore loss of funding for future programs.

    Much credit is deserved by the George Warren Brown School of Social Work for their recruitment and sponsorship of Native students into the profession through the Katherine Buder Center. Perhaps this endeavor will encourage further research and fair, balanced policy initatives by and for the AIAN community.

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