Disaster Preparedness Training For Tribal Leaders
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology
January 15, 2008
It was with considerable irony that tribal leaders began a collaboration with the University of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health Services for training in public health preparedness, as the tribes had an extended prior history of responding to a host of hazards caused by the dominant culture. The objective of the training was to ensure that Native American communities were adequately informed and trained to implement coordinated response plans for a range of potential public health emergencies on tribal lands and in surrounding communities. This commentary outlines how cultural competency (including public prayer by an elder during the training), respect for tribal sovereignity, solicitation of historical examples of indigenous preparedness, and incorporation of tribal community networks were essential to the success of this program.