Objectives: Overcoming health disparities between majority and minority populations is a significant national challenge. This paper assesses outreach to Native Americans (American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians) by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). A companion paper details NLM's portfolio of Native American outreach projects.
Method: NLM's Native American outreach is assessed in light of the presentations at a community-based health information outreach symposium and the goals set by NLM's plan to reduce health disparities.
Results: NLM's current portfolio of Native American outreach projects appears most advanced in meeting the goal set in area 1 of the health disparities plan, "Promote use of health information by health professionals and the public." NLM's portfolio also shows significant strength and good progress regarding area 2 of the plan, "Expand partnerships among various types of libraries and community-based organizations." The portfolio is weaker in area 3, "Conduct and support informatics research." More knowledge-building efforts would benefit NLM, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and Native American and community-based organizations.
Implications: The current Native American outreach portfolio should be continued, but new approaches are needed for evaluating Native American outreach and for forging collaborations with Native American groups, approaches grounded in consultation and mutual understanding of needs and perspectives.