Native American Initiatives (NAI)

Naha (Hello)!

Welcome to the site for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies’ newest program- Native American Initiatives (NAI). My name is Amy Stiffarm and I manage the NAI Program. This program was created to continue the work initiated by the LIFTS in Indian Country project where HMHB worked with Tribal Communities across the state to build the Reservation-specific resources for the LIFTS Resource Guide. Building off of this work, HMHB has created the Native American Initiatives Program to support Native American families across the state.

The goal of this new program is to continue to build relationships with tribal stakeholders to form strong collaborative partnerships and alliances to support Native mothers, pregnant people, and babies, from pregnancy to age three. We look forward to working with you all to support mothers, those caring for young children, and pregnant people and ensure there is a safe and healthy beginning for all babies in Montana. I welcome any conversations on how to partner with you on better serving Native mothers, birthing people, and babies in your communities. Ginnehayan (thank you) for your time!

Amy Stiffarm, PhD, MPH, Aaniiih, Chippewa-Cree, Blackfeet

Our Projects

A Strategy To Support Perinatal Mental Health By Collaborating With Tribal Communities In Montana

Staff at Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies – The Montana Coalition (HMHB) authored an article that  featured in the esteemed national publication, Health Affairs, in their April 2024 issue on Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing. The article highlights work completed to include family-supporting resources on Reservations in Montana into the LIFTS Online Resource Guide (www.hmhb-lifts.org). This project was completed in partnership with HMHB and Dr. Amy Stiffarm while she was a graduate student at the University of North Dakota in the Indigenous Health Program.

LEARN MORE about the Health Affairs Article

Among Indigenous women and birthing people, reported rates of perinatal mental health complications are consistently higher than in the general US population. However, perinatal mental health programs and interventions tend to focus on the general population and do not account for the unique experiences and worldviews of Indigenous Peoples. We highlight a collaborative strategy employed by a Montana nonprofit to engage Tribal communities in completing a statewide online resource guide designed to help pregnant and parenting families find resources, including mental health and substance use treatment options, within and beyond their local communities. Based on this strategy, cultural resources relevant to Tribal communities were added to the resource guide. Agencies committed to addressing perinatal mental health disparities among Indigenous populations should consider similar strategies to share power with Tribal communities and collaboratively create culturally congruent programs and interventions.

 

Read the full article here: https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2023.01449

LIFTS in Indian Country

The LIFTS (Linking Infants and Families to Supports) Resource Guide is an online resource for Montana families state-wide. In the building phase of the guide, HMHB hired an Indigenous person with experience in maternal child health to lead efforts in including Reservation Communities in Montana within the LIFTS Resource Guide.

LEARN MORE about LIFTS in Indian Country

This was the start of the LIFTS in Indian Country Project. The first year of the project involved collecting information on resources for each of the communities. The second year we held meetings virtually with each reservation. These meetings initiated relationships and the conversations led to the creation of the ‘Native Cultural Connections’ resource category. Please check the LIFTS Resource Guide and see if your program is included. You can add your program as well as events right on the site!

https://hmhb-lifts.org/services?service_type=Native%20Cultural%20Connections

Cultural Safety for Indigenous Mothers and Birthing People

In 2023, a cultural safety toolkit was created for those who provide care or work with families during the perinatal period. We are in the process of designing a toolkit that is more reader-friendly. In the meantime you may access the toolkit content created by Dr. Amy Stiffarm, for her dissertation work.

LEARN MORE about Cultural Safety for Indigenous Mothers and Birthing People

Cultural Saftety Toolkit File Download

Enter your information below to access the downloadable Toolkit. We will use this information to measure use of our materials. Once submitted, the page will reload and you can scroll back down to this portion of the page to access the download link.

Name
Name
First
Last

Since the summer of 2023, we have been offering cultural safety trainings for perinatal providers. We’ve done this over zoom and in-person. The cost depends on the amount of time and how in depth you would like your training to be. See below for more information. Please contact us at amy@hmhb-mt.org if you are interested in bringing a training to your community.

Cultural safety seeks to achieve better care through improving the awareness of power relationships, implementing reflective practice, and by allowing the patient to determine whether a clinical encounter is safe (Curtis, 2019). Continuous critical reflection and commitment to addressing power imbalances experienced by oppressed people are ways to promote cultural safety (Hall et al., 2023). The overall goal of this training is to better inform providers on how to provide culturally safe care to Indigenous patients and clients during the perinatal period. Due to systematic education issues that fail to properly acknowledge non-dominant cultures, many people lack foundational knowledge about the Indigenous populations in Montana. We cannot address perinatal health issues until we are fully informed on the circumstances that created the environment for significant health inequities to occur. Even more important for Indigenous perinatal health is the cultural knowledge and strengths that are relevant to pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. This training will provide information on crucial historical and cultural contexts in relation to the tenets of cultural safety.

Other Projects

We work with many partners throughout the state on various projects, related to the perinatal population.

LEARN MORE about Other Projects

As work continues to grow we will post updates here. Feel free to reach out for more information.

In the News

Native American Initiatives In the News

Stay Informed: HMHB’s Latest Native American Initiatives Making Headlines!