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September 2015

CCUIH’s Traditions of Health Project: Culturally Relevant Integration


The California Consortium for Urban Indian Health’s (CCUIH) Traditions of Health project aims to improve the integration of behavioral health and primary care for Urban Indians by advancing the cultural revitalization efforts of Urban Indian Health Organizations (UIHO) in California. This project convened key stakeholders to advance policy reform and sustainability planning, and worked to develop culturally specific, integrated systems of wellness for Urban Indians.


Culturally Relevant Integration Model

CCUIH developed the Culturally Relevant Integration Model to empower UIHOs to return to integrated wellness practices. This model is the result of one year of planning, informed by our Traditional Health Taskforce, Behavioral Health Peer Network, and Traditional Healers Advisory Committee along with key stakeholder interviews.

The Culturally Relevant Integration Model is a tool that UIHOs can use to implement integration approaches to address the organizational changes required to meet the holistic needs of the people they serve. This model is designed to strengthen the use of American Indian cultural practices within systems of care to increase access to traditional knowledge and to ensure that wellness practices remain community-centered and culturally relevant through this time of healthcare reform and for generations to come.

The primary audience intended for this model is CCUIH’s member UIHOs who will gain the opportunity to pilot these recommendations to support their integration efforts. Additionally, this model can also assist tribal organizations and other American Indian serving agencies in the assessment of their services and strategies for meeting population-specific holistic care needs. Similarly, other health and social service organizations that serve culturally-specific marginalized communities can also benefit from this model and adapt it to meet the needs of their populations.

Click the image below to view the Culturally Relevant Integration Model on Issuu:


Policy Change Strategy & Sustainability Plan

The goal of the Traditions of Health Policy Change Strategy & Sustainability Plan is to transform policies and systems to incorporate and sustain Traditional Healing services into health and social systems serving American Indians in California.

CCUIH wrote the Policy Change Strategy & Sustainability Plan as an accompanying document to the Culturally Relevant Integration Model. This Strategy & Plan aims to promote and transform health systems to meet the funding necessary to implement and sustain the Model. It will be necessary to read both documents to understand the complementary approach to achieve goals. The Policy Change Strategy and Sustainability Plan was informed by CCUIH’s Traditional Health Taskforce, Behavioral Health Peer Network, and Traditional Healer Advisory Committee. Additional ideas and recommendations were collected through participation in relevant conferences, stakeholder meetings, and pointed interviews.

Click the image below to view the Policy Change Strategy & Sustainability Plan on Issuu:



Culturally Adapted Integration Tool

As part of our Traditions of Health Project, CCUIH adapted SAMHSA’s Six Levels of Integration Tool to incorporate cultural perspectives and introduce traditional healing into primary care and behavioral health integration.

Click on the image below to access CCUIH’s Culturally Adapted Integration Tool:

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Based on this adapted SAMHSA tool, CCUIH has also devised a survey to assess the integration of primary care, behavioral health, and traditional healing for our member UIHOs. The results of this survey informed CCUIH’s development of the Culturally Relevant Integration Model and will be used by CCUIH to provide our member UIHOs with technical assistance to implement this model. You can access the survey  here.

Featured Intern: Karen Baw Vang

This week we feature Karen Baw Vang, our Research Assistant Intern for the Traditions of Health Project. CCUIH’s Traditions of Health Project advances the cultural revitalization efforts of our Urban Indian Health Organizations through policy reform and sustainability planning for American Indian Traditional and cultural practices. Karen’s  academic background and drive is invaluable to this project, which she supports through qualitative analysis and literature review.

Read her bio in her own words below:

Hello! My name is Karen Baw Vang. I am a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a BA in Anthropology with a concentration in Medical Anthropology. While at UC Berkeley, I wrote a senior honors thesis on illness, shamanism, and inter-generational loss and transmission among the exilic Hmong communities in California. Blending theoretical frameworks of mourning and melancholia with traditional Hmong conceptual thinking of Ntuj faib sa—the Heavens the dividing the world between life and death, day and night, and the living and dead—the thesis was awarded with the Frankenburg Prize for best departmental thesis in critical medical anthropology.

My interest, experience and passion for traditional health and medicine lead me to CCUIH, where I am an intern assisting with the Traditions of Health Project. I hope that my experiences and skills will be advantageous for CCUIH and the communities that it serves. It’s been a privilege to be part of this great organization, community and all of its amazing work. Aside from CCUIH, I am also an Oakland Reading Corps Literacy Tutor. I serve adorable Transitional-Kindergarten students at Achieve Academy in Oakland, CA.

As for my future plans, I hope to further develop my interests in shamanism, traditional medicine, violence, trauma, psychological and medical anthropology. My goal is to someday pursue a PhD to continue my studies to be able to further support and explore traditional health and medicine.