Building true capacity: indigenous models for indigenous communities

Am J Public Health. 2006 Apr;96(4):596-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.053801. Epub 2006 Jan 31.


Within the past 2 decades, community capacity building and community empowerment have emerged as key strategies for reducing health disparities and promoting public health. As with other strategies and best practices, these concepts have been brought to indigenous (American Indian and Alaska Native) communities primarily by mainstream researchers and practitioners. Mainstream models and their resultant programs, however, often have limited application in meeting the needs and realities of indigenous populations. Tribes are increasingly taking control of their local health care services. It is time for indigenous people not only to develop tribal programs but also to define and integrate the underlying theoretical and cultural frameworks for public health application.

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation / methods*
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American*
  • Inuit*
  • Public Health Administration / methods
  • United States
  • United States Indian Health Service / organization & administration*