Native American Child Health

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New Webinar

Epigenetics and Health Disparities: Linking Biology and Social Science
Presented by James N Jarivs, MD, FAAP on November 18, 2015 at 12:00 Noon Central Time. To register for this FREE webinar, sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics Indian Health Special Interest Group, click on Epigenetics and Health Disparities.

Dr Jim Jarvis is Director of Research, Division of Allergy/Immunology and Rheumatology at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Buffalo. Dr Jarvis attended University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed a Pediatric residency at St Louis Children’s Hospital and Fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr Jarvis, who has Akwesasne Mohawk ancestry, is currently chair of the AAP Committee on Native American Child Health.  His interest in epigenetics is rooted in his research on juvenile idiopathic arthritis, particularly in Indigenous American children.

Physicians, medical students and residents, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, nurses and other health care professionals.

At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

    • Explain the fundamentals of epigenetics
    • Describe how historical traumas may impact the epigenome
    • Apply community-based initiatives that may buffer the epigenetic effects of toxic stress



    Lung Infections in Indigenous American Children: A Hidden Disparity
    Presented by Rosalyn Singleton MD, MPH, FAAP on August 25, 2015 .
    To view the slide set please click here.

    American Indian and Alaska Native children experience higher rates of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), including bronchiolitis and pneumonia, compared with the general U.S. child population. This disparity is highest for pneumonia in infants. Pneumonia is of particular interest because high rates of pneumonia have been associated with increased incidence of chronic suppurative lung disease like bronchiectasis in rural Alaska Native children as well as indigenous children in Australia and New Zealand. Lower respiratory tract hospitalizations have been associated with several modifiable risk factors including lack of piped water, household crowding, lack of breast-feeding and indoor air pollution. We will present trends in lung infections in American Indian and Alaska Native children and encouraging data showing the impact of interventions such as vaccinations and introduction of piped water in lowering rates of lung infections.

    Dr Rosalyn Singleton is a visiting research associate with Arctic Investigations Program – Centers for Disease Control with research in vaccine preventable infections and respiratory disease, a part-time pediatrician at Alaska Native Medical Center, Immunization Consultant for Alaska Native Medical Center, and a medical epidemiologist working with the State of Alaska, Section of Epidemiology. Dr Singleton attended Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago and completed a Pediatric residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, She earned an MPH from Loma Linda University. She worked as a pediatrician on the Navajo reservation Chinle AZ from 1985-88. She has been a clinical consultant for the Indian Health Service immunization software.

    Physicians, medical students and residents, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, nurses and other health care professionals.

    At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

    • Recognize higher morbidity for LRTIs among American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) children
    • Describe the decrease in AI/AN and US child pneumonia hospitalizations over the past two decades
    • Recognize modifiable risk factors for LRTIs in AI/AN children, including: lack of piped water, indoor air pollution, absence of breastfeeding, and household crowding

    Heritable Illnesses in the Navajo: Fallout from the American Indian Wars of the 19th Century.
    Presented by Steve Holve, MD, FAAP on May 28, 2015
    To view the slide set click here

    The arrival of Europeans in North America 400 years ago had a devastating effect on the native population. We often think of war and infectious diseases as the legacy of colonization.
    However, ongoing conflict and political decisions up into the 20th century have had a direct, but little appreciated effect on population genetics in American Indians and Alaska Natives. Using the experience of the Navajo tribe in the Southwest we will show how the history of colonization in North America has had lasting genetic effects on the Navajo. The Navajo experience can inform work in looking at other indigenous groups around the world.

    Physicians, medical students and residents, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, nurses and other health care professionals.

    At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:

    • Define the founder effect and recognize the genetic effect in a community
    • Recognize the historical factors that lead to the founder effect in the Navajo
    • Identify heritable illnesses that are common to the Navajo


    International Meeting on Indigenous Child Health

    The International Meeting on Indigenous Child Health (IMICH), held every two years, focuses on innovative clinical care models and community-based public health approachesfor children and youth in First Nations, Inuit, Métis, American Indian, Alaska Native and other Indigenous communities around the world.

6th IMICH - Resilience: Our Ancestors' Legacy, our Children's Strength

March 20-22, 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario

Stay tuned for information on the next IMICH conference, scheduled for 2017 in the United States.

Co-hosted by the Canadian Paediatric Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics, this meeting brings together health care providers and researchers working with children, youth and families in American Indian, Alaska Native, First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and other Indigenous communities. Participants share model programs and research, learn about prevalent health problems, and acquire practical skills for use in community settings. Opportunities to share knowledge and support one another's efforts, to network and develop partnerships are built into the program.

The conference organizers represent Aboriginal and Native American organizations in Canada and the United States.

AAP Committee on Native American Child Health
Tel: 847/434-4722

AAP Children's Oral Health Web Site

The AAP supports pediatricians and other health care professionals to provide preventive oral health services as part of early well child exams and continued throughout the child's life until a dental home can be found. The new Children's Oral Health Web site provides opportunities for education, advocacy, and resources to help you to implement oral health services in the pediatric practice. For more information about the AAP's Oral Health efforts email

You can become involved in the AAP's Native American child health efforts through the Indian Health Special Interest Group (IH-SIG). The IH-SIG provides a forum for pediatricians and other licensed health care professionals serving American Indian/Alaska Native children to share successes and strategies, sponsor educational programs that highlight aspects of providing care to American Indian/Alaska Native children, support the work of the CONACH by disseminating information, and link members to address problems specific to local or regional care of American Indian/Alaska Native children.

One of the activities of the IH-SIG is a discussion forum facilitated through an electronic mailing list. Topics discussed recently include oral health, childhood asthma, ADHD, and injury prevention.

Membership is free of charge. To join, or for more information on AAP Native American child health activities, please e-mail


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