Healthy Nations was an initiative funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help Native Americans reduce the harm caused by substance abuse in their communities. The National Program Office of the Healthy Nations Initiative, which provided day-to-day administration, was located in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Denver. The goal of the initiative was to demonstrate that tribes and communities can, over time, achieve substantial reductions in the demand for -- and consequently the use of -- alcohol and other harmful substances, including tobacco and illegal drugs. The initiative provided grants to support the development of community-wide efforts to combat substance abuse that integrated public awareness campaigns, prevention programs, and services for treatment, aftercare, and support. Particular emphasis was on prevention and early intervention with respect to the use of alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco among youth. Incorporation of traditional cultural values was a key component of the Healthy Nations Initiative.
Under this six-year, two-stage competitive initiative, which began in December, 1993, the Foundation made nearly $13.5 million available to Native American tribes and community organizations serving Indian people. In the first stage, two-year development/feasibility grants of up to $150,000 each were awarded to as many as 15 tribes or community organizations. All grantees successfully completing the development/feasibility phase were eligible for four-year project implementation grants of up to $1 million each.