Indian Family Wellness

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

A collaboration between the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and OSLC toward the development, implementation, and evaluation of a family-based, culturally competent preventive intervention for families enrolled in a tribal Head Start Program.

Project Overview

The Indian Family Wellness Project is a collaboration between the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and OSLC. The project involves the development, implementation, and evaluation of a family-based, culturally competent preventive intervention for families enrolled in a tribal Head Start Program. The intervention introduces families to traditional American Indian child-rearing practices and fosters the utilization of those practices in order to promote healthy development among American Indian preschool children. The intervention has a number of components that have been derived from empirically tested methods, but have been designed to incorporate both pan-Indian and tribally-specific cultural values. These components include (1) a Native American parenting curriculum using videos of traditional tribal stories to implement traditional core values of parenting; (2) a classroom curriculum linked in content to the parenting materials; and (3) the use of paraprofessional home visitors and wraparound funding to increase service utilization and coordination. The project employs an approach called Tribal Participatory Research, in which Tribes assume an active role in prevention research. This 5-year project is expected to involve approximately 270 families.

Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

Principal Investigator

Philip Fisher, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Fisher obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. He is a Senior Scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) and the Center for Research to Practice, both in Eugene, Oregon as well as a Professor of Psychology (clinical) at the University of Oregon. He is also Science Director for the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs and a Senior Fellow at the Center on the Developing Child, both based at Harvard University. Dr. Fisher’s work on children in foster care and the child welfare system includes (a) basic research characterizing the effects of early stress on neurobiological systems such as the HPA axis and areas of the prefrontal cortex involved in executive functioning; (b) the development of preventive interventions, including the Treatment Foster Care of Oregon Program for Preschoolers (TFCO-P) and the Kids in Transition to School Program (KITS); and (c) the dissemination of evidence-based practice in community settings. His work has been funded by a number of institutes of the National Institutes of Health, including NIDA, NIMH, and NICHD. He serves on a number of national advisory groups related to prevention science and community based research. His intervention programs are being implemented at sites throughout the United States and Europe.