Health Disparities and Toxicant Exposure of Akwesasne Mohawk Young Adults: A Partnership Approach to Research

Author Name: 
schell, L. M., Ravenscroft, J., Cole, M., Jacobs, A., Newman, J. and Akwesasne Task Force On The Environment.
Publication Date: 
Saturday, January 1, 2005
Private File Attachment: 
Description: 
The components of sustainable partnerships are discussed; including strategies that helped promote equity between the partners such as hiring community members as key personnel, integrating local expertise into research design, and developing a local Community Outreach and Education Program. There is fear in communities over exposure to pesticides and how they could affect children and adults in the community. Minority groups are in rural areas more often than affluent whites and they are more at risk for exposure because they are closer to farmland, rivers downstream from factories and farms and nuclear plants, dumping, mining, and other environmentally damaging activities. Specifically this article covers the social effects of Outreach efforts to help stop these problems. One of the controllable factors of being exposed to toxicants is ingestion of certain kinds of foods. This is a disagreeable circumstance because of the cultural and religious significance given to fishing. Anything asked of the Mohawk people must be considered for its potential cultural practice value and the hazards of asking Mohawk people to do something they would feel insulted or that harmed their well-being. The article discusses creating a conceptual framework for consolidating the indigenous ways of knowing and the need for scientific knowledge. The risk-focusing model was used to complement models of resource allocation common in health disparities research in which resources are allocated on the basis of socioeconomic characteristics (Schell 1997). The research design is published so that readers can better see how to go about this. “The Akwesasne model recognizes that research has profound effects on any community and seeks to channel these influences to produce benefits for the community while also respecting the researchers' needs. The economic benefits for communities are valued in the partnership, but researchers may not perceive the benefits of research projects beyond the new knowledge produced.”(Schell, 2005) The roles and responsibilities of a research project team studying a human subject were listed as: 1) Taking time to learn about one another 2) Understanding styles of decision making 3) The role of community partners in the development of research design and protocols. 4) Promoting equitable benefits 5) Gathering local expert knowledge 6) Two-way communication This will help produce mechanisms to help health disparities. Conclusion: This article was a methodology and justification for what was previous and what was to come. The lessons learned nature may be too long for busy researchers but could be quite interesting for others.