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Healthy Ways

Healthy Ways



Christina Mitchell, Ph.D.

Christina Mitchell, Ph.D.; Carol Kaufman, Ph.D.; Jan Beals, Ph.D.



The Healthy Ways project is an HIV/AIDS prevention project currently underway in two American Indian communities.    While the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among American Indians is still quite low, many factors that are associated with the spread of the disease are increasing among this population.   One of the goals of the project is to design and develop culturally relevant, acceptable, and effective interventions to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS in these communities.   Healthy Ways collects information from a large group of American Indian young adults about their understanding, attitudes and practices related to the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.    The project has the following Specific Aims:

  1. To describe the HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and perceived risk among AI populations through data collection of reservation-based samples and through secondary data analysis of national studies.
  2. Using data collected in this and other projects, to statistically model culturally adapted theories of individual-level behavior.
  3. To conduct a situational analysis of scope and depth of existing programs, sources of information and services related to STD and HIV/AIDS.
  4. With ongoing collaboration with community members, to select, design, and propose culturally appropriate preventive interventions tailored to specific community needs.



The Healthy Ways project contains three phases.   The first is the collection of quantitative data collection including computer assisted interviews and self-administered surveys among approximately 740 American Indians age 20-25.   The second phase includes informational data collection on local health programs, educational curricula, or other activities where HIV/STD information or care may be administered.   A third phase includes qualitative data collection including focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with youth, health care personnel, and other community members.


Interviews: approx. 740 20-25 year olds
Surveys: approx. 740 20-25 year olds
Focus groups: 5 groups, approx. 8 persons in each group (varied ages)
In-depth interviews: 32, varied ages

* Confidentiality is emphasized in all phases of the project; each employee is required to sign a statement of confidentiality.   The confidentiality of individuals, communities and tribes is strictly honored.


  1. HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes.
  2. Perceived risk.
  3. Substance abuse and risky behavior.
  4. Risk/protective factors.
  5. Social support.
  6. Self-esteem.
  7. Life stressors.
  8. Competencies.



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Mitchell, C. M., Kaufman, C. E., & the Pathways of Choice and Healthy Ways Project Team. (2002). Structure of HIV knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among American Indian young adults. AIDS Education and Prevention, 14, 381-398.

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