Teen pregnancy rates among Native Americans in South Dakota are four times higher than those for the rest of the state's population, and Sanford Research and the University of South Dakota have been awarded a $1.5 million grant to help lower those rates.

A grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities will allow Sanford Research/USD and its partners to conduct research on the subject.

"We are excited to be working with our partners to take a more in-depth look at the teen pregnancy rate among our Native population," said Sanford Research/USD Health Disparities Research Center director Amy Elliot. "We want to better understand why the numbers are so much higher and develop a multi-site, culturally sensitive teen pregnancy prevention program for reservation and urban Northern Plains American Indian teens."

Its partners are the University of Minnesota, South Dakota Urban Indian Health in Sioux Falls, and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board. Focus groups and interviews will look at social norms and unique cultural factors that account for the high pregnancy rate among youth living on the reservation and in an urban setting.

(5) comments


Come on people. This can be a great thing. Someone is actually recognizing teenage pregnancy and trying to get something done about it. Abstinence education is obviously not working. The focus should be on prevention and safety.

sonny j

Shannon said it perfectly.Parenting has to start somewhere with mommy and daddy as husband and wife with a commitment to each other and therefore, the children.


Another epic wase of taxpayer dollars. No university or research firm is going to have any impact whatsoever on teen pregnancy rates of Native Americans. But it sure will make a nice salary for a few folks for a couple of years. Nice.


Having babies is their source of income. Why would they want to use birth control? I am an enrolled member of OST, live on the reservation and see it every day. Many forms of birth control are available at the Indian Health Service but they choose not to use any. I don't feel sorry for them, but I do feel sorry for the unwanted babies born to young parents that don't know how to take care of them. It doesn't matter how much they try to educate them, it won't work.

Golly Gee

Education, teaching abstinance, or making birth control available is great. However, unless the researchers plan on chaperoning every date between the teens, there's no guarantee in the heat of the moment common sense will prevail.

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