Healthy Places -- Healthy People

The goal of the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center's core research, Healthy Places--Healthy People, is to implement The Community Guide evidence-informed recommendations for physical activity in the Navajo Nation. This longitudinal study continues the adaptation and scaling out of a pragmatic model developed by the UNM PRC as VIVA—Step Into Cuba during from 2009 to 2014 and expanded and refined as VIVA Connects implemented in partnership with 31 other rural and frontier New Mexico communities during 2014-2019.

Students, faculty, and staff from Diné College and from the Navajo Nation Technological University as well as community members will have opportunities to participate in workshops, training, implementation, and evaluation of the project. PRC researchers, including 5 members of the Navajo Nation, will: provide training, workshops, and health education; identify resources; sponsor events; create maps and walking guides; and provide other technical assistance as identified by community members. The PRC will adapt and study strategies for implementation and sustainability using technical assistance, training, and shared guidance at each of nine Navajo Chapters (communities). Our research plan includes mixed methods to determine the successes of Healthy Places--Healthy People. Key instruments and documents are being translated into the Navajo language for the 25% of the population who are most comfortable speaking in their native language. All of the Navajo members of the research team are fluent in both English and Navajo.

Given the PRC's long history of working with the Navajo Nation and other tribal groups and following our strong guiding principles of community-engaged research, we anticipate success in adapting and scaling out the VIVA model. We expect that the results and subsequent lessons learned and identification of challenges and facilitators from Healthy Places--Healthy People will serve as a model for other Chapters (communities) in the Navajo Nation who wish to increase physical activity, improve quality of life, and prevent and control chronic diseases in their communities. Indicating their interest and support, the Navajo Nation Institutional Research Board (NNIRB) has already requested we include the entire Navajo Nation in our future plans.

Note: During the time of COVID all work on the project is being conducted remotely.

Navajo Nation Map