Squaxin Island Tribal Community members getting started on First Annual Color Run

Cancer Programs host Kaiser Permanente in a listening session about Colon health in Tribal communities

The SPIPA Comprehensive Cancer Program in partnership with Kaiser Permanente recently hosted a pivotal Colon Health Listening Session at the Little Creek Casino, Friday August 25, 2023. Representatives from Consortium Tribes and Tribal Community members were invited to share their thoughts of awareness and screening efforts of the Comprehensive Cancer Program by raising awareness about colon health within Pacific Northwest Tribal communities. The event was marked by its collaborative spirit, aiming to bridge gaps in healthcare access and education for the region’s indigenous population.

Skokomish Tribal member and former Native Women’s Wellness Program Coordinator, Rita Andrews gave an opening blessing and personal testimonial to medical trauma impacting why native people would rather not see a health care provider. Dr. Gloria Coronado from Kaiser Permanente gave a fresh statistical overview of the prevalence of colon cancer being the second leading cause of death in American Indians and Alaska Natives and the importance of eliminating barriers to screening and treatment.

Among the participants, a few former SPIPA Cancer Program members of leadership were present as well as the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA) was available to provide context to historical barriers in accessing screening and paying for services. Also presented were examples of infographics and video shorts to be tailored to suit cultural preferences. This listening session is the first of three with the outcome of creating graphics tailored to each SPIPA Consortium Tribe, increased awareness, and a clear understanding of this medical provider being able to reach tribal communities in a way that resonates with the importance of Colon health.