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Journal of Cancer Education



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American Indians residing in the Northern Plains region of the Indian Health Service experience some of the most severe cancer-related health disparities. We investigated ways in which the community climate among an American Indian population in an urban community in the Northern Plains region influences community readiness to address cancer. A Community Readiness Assessment, following the Community Readiness Model, conducted semi-structured interviews with eight educators, eight students, and eight community leaders from the American Indian community in Omaha’s urban American Indian population and established the Northern Plains region community at a low level of readiness to address cancer. This study reports on a subsequent qualitative study that analyzed all 24 interview transcriptions for emergent themes to help understand the prevailing attitude of the community toward cancer. A synthesis of six emergent themes revealed that the community’s perceptions of high levels of severity and barriers, paired with perceptions of low levels of susceptibility and benefits, lead to low levels of self-efficacy, all of which are reflected in minimal cues to action and little effort to address cancer. These findings, interpreted through the lens of the Health Belief Model, can inform the development of more community-based, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate approaches to address the multilevel determinants of health behaviors in relation to cancer among American Indians in the Northern Plains region.


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