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Notice to Readers: National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month --- November 2003

November is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. During this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will join with other federal departments and agencies, local government offices, national and local organizations, and interested persons to recognize American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) contributions to the development and history of the United States. Information about activities to celebrate National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month is available from the Indian Health Service (IHS) at

Health challenges facing AI/AN communities include cancer, diabetes, environmental contamination, heart disease, injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, sudden infant death syndrome, vaccine-preventable diseases, and viral hepatitis. Substantial health disparities affect AI/AN communities (1,2). To address these disparities, CDC and ATSDR work with tribal governments, tribal organizations, urban Indian health centers, IHS, and other partners to provide funding and technical assistance to tribal governments and organizations. CDC and ATSDR also commit professional staff to help strengthen AI/AN public health capacity. Additional information is available from CDC at and from ATSDR at


  1. CDC. Health disparities experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives. MMWR 2003;52:697.
  2. CDC. Tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use among high school students attending Bureau of Indian Affairs--funded schools---United States, 2001. MMWR 2003;52:1070--2.

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This page last reviewed 11/6/2003