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The Effects of Historical Trauma on the Health of Indigenous Communities in North America

Borwn, Hannah (2022) The Effects of Historical Trauma on the Health of Indigenous Communities in North America. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Indigenous people living in the United States and Canada experience much poorer health outcomes than other groups of people in the regions. In addition to facing higher prevalence of many health conditions that shorten overall life expectancy, many Native Americans face restricted access to health care. Limited access to care affected the Indigenous community’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Income level and socioeconomic status are perhaps the most powerful social determinant of health, affecting access not only to health care itself, but also to other basic needs like nutritious food and safe housing, that in turn affect health. This essay is a review of the literature exploring physical and mental health disparities among Native and Indigenous peoples in North America and the potential roots of these disparities in historical events that caused widespread and lasting trauma to Native American communities. Sections of this paper explore the historical, cultural, and intergenerational traumas that contribute to physical and mental health issues, while also referencing and describing health disparities, social determinants of health, and the effects of historical events, colonization, and prevailing Eurocentric views. Information referenced in this essay was collected using the program Ovid to search for relevant documents. Like many marginalized communities, Indigenous communities experience racist or prejudice-filled acts, including physical assaults and microaggressions or subtle discriminations, which are common in LGBTQIA+ communities and Black communities. Studies have shown that there are direct relationships between racism and mental health, along with physical health. This essay explores the connections between historical trauma and current poor health indicators among Native American populations while exploring Methods of Measuring Health Outcomes Associated with Historical Trauma and presenting a discussion that seeks to place the reviewed information into context, offer conclusions and suggest next steps to address public health needs.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Borwn, HannahHDB11@pitt.eduhdb11
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSalter, Cynthiacys6@pitt.educys6UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberHershey, Tina Batratbh16@pitt.edutbh16UNSPECIFIED
Date: 16 May 2022
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 29 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 60
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Indigenous, public health, cultural trauma, historical trauma, racism, health disparities
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 19:43
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 19:43


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