$3 Million Grant approved to Walking Forward to Improve Tribal Healthcare

Aug 16, 2019

Credit Avera Health

The National Cancer Institute announced a five-year, $3 million grant to Avera’s Walking Forward program and a team of other contributors to help aid in cancer care for American Indians in South Dakota.

Walking Forward, along with Tribal and other healthcare providers in the state, hope to improve cancer and palliative care for patients in the Oglala, Sicangu and Cheyenne River tribes.

Dr. Daniel Petereit is a Radiation Oncologist with Regional Health, who is contributing to the research. He says one of the major barriers in Tribal Healthcare is the distance from reservations to quality healthcare institutions.

"Part of this is going to be evolving," says Petereit. "Where the first phase will be assessing and doing interviews, listening circles, visiting with cancer patients, family members, tribal leaders, traditional healers, and healthcare providers to really try and identify, “what are the needs in the tribal communities?”

Petereit notes that American Indians in this state have significantly higher death rates from cancer than any other group.

The Walking Forward program began in 2002 to aid in medical attention for tribal patients.