The North Carolina Native American Cervical Cancer Prevention Project is a five-year, NCI-funded public health education program. The project was developed to address the problem of excess mortality from cervical cancer among Native American women by increasing screening and follow-up of abnormal cervical smears. This paper describes the process of developing and implementing the intervention, an individualized health education program. Development of the intervention was guided by the health belief model, social learning theory, self efficacy theory, and PRECEDE, a planning model. Community analysis revealed that the target populations had limited awareness of cervical cancer as a specific type of cancer, and had an experientially-based pessimistic outlook regarding survival with cancer. Steps in developing the cervical-cancer prevention program included 1) development of objectives, 2) selection of strategies and development of cervical cancer education materials, 3) pretesting and revision, and 4) implementation, monitoring, and further revision. Native American lay health educators were recruited and trained to deliver the program. The experience of developing and implementing the individualized health education program suggests that the design of health education programs for Native Americans should begin with examination of basic assumptions regarding the nature of health and illness in the target population. The unique cultures and the diversity of Native American populations are critical factors in the development of health education programs for them.