Alaska Native Health Research – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Alaska Native Health Research

Lauren Kouassi


Pronouns: she/her

Research Mentor(s): Lisa Wexler, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Institute for Social Research,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 1 (10am-10:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 11
Presenter: 2

Event Link


Compared to the lower 48 states, Alaska faces unproportional rates of suicide related death and injuries, especially among the Alaskan Native (AN) youth. From the effects of colonialism to social changes, there are numerous issues plaguing Native youth today, putting them at higher risk of suicide compared to their White counterparts. Another aspect of life that puts youth at higher risk is access to firearms, which are commonly found within rural Alaskan homes. Research is being done to learn about safe firearm storage practices within people’s homes in order to increase safety and reduce the risk of firearm related accidents and suicide. The short intervention we are developing uses motivational interviewing to increase adult family members’ safe firearm storage practices in their households. Building on information generated through local household surveys about home firearm storage practices, communications, responsibilities and preferences, we will develop motivational Interviewing guides. This project will identify key motivations and ways of engaging adults in a universal intervention to improve safety practices related to firearm storage. This project integrates previous motivational interviewing research and guides to be used to adapt our brief intervention–the family safety net–to the local priorities, motivations, values and local language use and norms.

Authors: Lauren Kouassi, Lisa Wexler
Research Method: Community Based Research

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