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Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Framework for Conducting a National Study of Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Serving American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

Because of their broad geographic distribution, diverse ownership and operation, and funding instability, it is a challenge to develop a framework for studying substance abuse treatment programs serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities at a national level. This is further complicated by the historic reluctance of American Indian and Alaska Native communities to participate in research.

We developed a framework for studying these substance abuse treatment programs (n ≈ 293) at a national level as part of a study of attitudes toward, and use of, evidence-based treatments among substance abuse treatment programs serving AI/AN communities with the goal of assuring participation of a broad array of programs and the communities that they serve.

Because of the complexities of identifying specific substance abuse treatment programs, the sampling framework divides these programs into strata based on the American Indian and Alaska Native communities that they serve: (1) the 20 largest tribes (by population); (2) urban AI/AN clinics; (3) Alaska Native Health Corporations; (4) other Tribes; and (5) other regional programs unaffiliated with a specific AI/AN community. In addition, the recruitment framework was designed to be sensitive to likely concerns about participating in research.

This systematic approach for studying substance abuse and other clinical programs serving AI/AN communities assures the participation of diverse AI/AN programs and communities and may be useful in designing similar national studies.

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