Alaska Natives depend on local natural resources for nutritional and, for many, spiritual health. As a result, public health in Alaska is strongly influenced by the relationship between people and their surrounding physical, chemical, and biological environments. Alaska is vast with diverse wildlife and plant communities that are valued as subsistence foods (fig. 1). These resources are supported by equally diverse ecosystems and their underpinning landforms and geologies. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is attempting to integrate physical, chemical, and biological information to better describe current (2013) environments and project scenarios for the future. Integrating ecological data into the public health dialogue is challenging for the more than 280 rural communities of Alaska. This fact sheet reviews a recent USGS effort, the Geographic Information System (GIS) Native Health Project, to better incorporate scientific information into such dialogue.
Relationships between the health of Alaska Native communities and our environment -- phase 1, exploring and communicating