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News Release

Thursday, Nov. 7, 2002

Contact: OPHS Press Office
(202) 205-1841


In recognition of National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today launched a new resource section on the department's healthfinder® Web site devoted to these communities. Available at, the easy-to-use consumer resource provides a central point for up-to-date health information of special interest to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

"American Indians and Alaska Natives are affected disproportionately by diabetes, tuberculosis, injuries, and other serious health problems. By providing resources especially selected for these populations, with their input, we have designed a gateway to help them learn about preventing and treating illness and developing a healthy lifestyle," Secretary Thompson said.

According to the 2000 census, over 4 million Americans self-identify as American Indians and Alaska Natives. The special healthfinder® section highlights more than 20 of the most important topics of interest for these populations, based on discussions with American Indian and Alaska Native community leaders, patients, and students. In addition to specific wellness and disease topics such as nutrition and diabetes, these include elder care and traditional healing. Over 170 topics are available in total in the section for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The full healthfinder® site brings together information on over 1100 topics from over 1700 government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Dr. Charles Grim, the interim director of the Indian Health Service, said, "healthfinder® is an excellent Web-based resource that our providers and community health representatives can use in our remote and isolated locations. Our families with Internet access in these communities can also benefit from the useful information it provides. Access to information is an invaluable tool for disease prevention and treatment as well as wellness."

healthfinder® is spearheaded by the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). ODPHP partnered with the Indian Health Service; the department's Office of Minority Health; the American Public Health Association's American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Caucus; and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, to improve health information for American Indians and Alaska Natives on healthfinder®.

For more information about National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, visit


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at

Last Revised: November 7, 2002

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