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Grant to Examine and Reduce High Incidence of American Indian Teen Pregnancy


Teen pregnancy rates among American Indians in South Dakota exceed the rest of the state's population by four times, reported the Rapid City Journal.

Sanford Research and the University of South Dakota (USD) have been awarded a $1.5 million grant to address related issues and lower the rate of pregnant American Indian teens.

A grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities will allow Sanford Research and the USD and its parners to investigate reasons for the high incidence of pregnant teens among American Indians in the state. The partners will also develop a pregnancy prevention program for reservation and urban Indians throughout the Northern Plains, said Amy Elliot, director of the Sanford Research/USD Health Disparities Research Center.

"We are excited to be working with our partners to take a more in-depth look at the teen pregnancy rate among our Native population," Elliot told the Rapid City Journal. "We want to better understand why the numbers are so much higher and develop a multi-site, culturally sensitive teen pregnancy prevention program for reservation and urban Northern Plains American Indian teens."

Partners working on the project include the University of Minnesota, South Dakota Urban Indian Health in Sioux Falls, and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board. Focus groups and interviews will examine social norms and unique cultural factors that may be attributed to the high pregnancy rate among Indian youth residing on the reservation and in urban areas.