North Carolina Cherokee Community to Participate in 1,000 Grandmothers Project

May 5, 2014

North Carolina Cherokee Community to Participate in 1,000 Grandmothers Project

IA2 and the Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) are jointly conducting a project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to help prevent sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) in American Indian tribes. According to the CDC, approximately 4,000 infants die suddenly each year of no immediate apparent cause, with half being attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is the leading cause of death among infants 1-12 months and the 3rd third leading cause of overall infant mortality in the U.S.  While rates have declined in the last three decades, American Indian and Alaska Native infants remain at a disproportionally higher risk than the remainder of the population.

The 1,000 Grandmothers project, conceived by IA2 and MPHI leadership, is working to identify innovative models for reducing childhood deaths in Native communities. The goal of the project is to enlist the assistance of tribes in the design and implementation of community-based initiatives to bring Indian grandmothers and other tribal elders together with new mothers to conduct focused mentoring and education on the prevention of SUIDs in culturally-specific surroundings and activities.

Dave Baldridge, Executive Director of the International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2), is pleased to announce a partnership that will focus outreach on the Qualla and Snowbird Community of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. This comes as part of a formal agreement signed with Dr. Lisa Lefler of the Center for Native Health, Inc.

The mission of the Center for Native Health, Inc., is to integrate community-based traditional knowledge into all facets of Native health care and education and to promote wellness and balance for Indigenous peoples. The Center grew out of a partnership between Western Carolina University, Wake Forest University and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian’s Health and Medical Division.

Work with Dr. Lefler, her staff and the IA2 and MPHI project team is scheduled to commence in the next month.

To learn more about the Center, visit:

Contact: Dave Baldridge, Executive Director