Collaborator Spotlights, Features

Collaborator Spotlight: We R Native

“Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant” –Steven Anderson, Educator

On a daily basis, our research staff and undergraduate research interns are working hard to make new discoveries and draw interesting conclusions on innovative projects connecting adolescent health and social media use. Although we do much of this work inside the walls of our own office, there are many opportunities for us to step outside the West 8th Building and collaborate with like-minded organizations. Through collaborations, we are able to seek and reach new heights and impact new populations. Over the years, we have worked closely with a project called We R Native, housed at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.

we-r-native-youthWe R Native is designed by Native youth, for native youth and serves as a multimedia health resource that provides content and stories about the topics that matter most to them. They are dedicated to serving American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) teens and young adults, by continuously engaging with them through opportunities such as their Youth Ambassadors program, which is instrumental to getting youth involved in their community to make a positive difference.

Technology is a vital component to the outreach being done at We R Native. To guide this work, the team researches how technology can be employed and designed to deliver culturally-appropriate heath education to AI/AN youth (ages 13-21), in reachable, relevant, and relatable ways. We R Native includes an interactive website, text messaging service (text NATIVE to 24587), social media sites, and an engaging Q&A service called “Ask Auntie.”

jesse-and-tommySMAHRT and We R Native have developed a collaborative relationship based upon the intersecting work and connection between media use and adolescent health. Currently, we are working together to design a webinar training for adults who work with Native youth, with the goal of helping them respond to concerning posts on social media. Additionally, our own SMAHRTie Jesse Gritton, and Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board’s Stephanie Crag Rushing, Tommy Ghost Dog, and David Stephens collaborated on a study titled “Responding to concerning posts on social media: American Indian an Alaska Native youth’s perspectives and solutions.” This work was co-presented this past fall at the Indian Health Service’s Behavioral Health Conference and the American Public Health Association Conference.

November is a great time to reflect on all that we are thankful for, and this year we are especially grateful for our collaborators that help us harness technology to positively influence the health of adolescents. Thank you, We R Native, for your dedication to youth, and we are excited to continue to foster our collaborative relationship in order to bring about more positive changes in our communities!

Stay tuned next month for a SMAHRT Intern spotlight, featuring undergraduate research intern Aubrey Gower!

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