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National Tribal Steering Committee for Injury Prevention


The National Tribal Steering Committee (TSC) for Injury Prevention was established in 1999 by the Indian Health Service. The makeup of the committee consists of 12 members and 12 alternate members representing each of the 12 Indian Health Service Areas. As a National Committee the TSC represents a total of approximately 4.3 million Tribal people from 569 Federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native Tribes across the United States.

Comparative Disparity

IHS Budget by Program.


Injury death disparity by cause under 44 years of age. Native vs Non-Native. 1999 to 2003.



Native vs Non Native

All Injury 78.30 43.10Motor Vehicle 33.21 15.29

Suicide 13.74 10.47 Firearms 11.39 7.50

Homicide 10.10 3.32 Suffocation 7.60 3.63 Drowning 3.09 1.32

Fire/burn 1.67 0.82

Falls 1.47 0 .99



crude rate per 100,000 population



C. Everett Koop, MD

Former Surgeon General

What is the value of a Child’s life?

Smoke detector…………….$20.00

Detector battery……..............$2.59

Child safety seat……............$50.00

Bike helmet…………..............$8.00

Safe storage of poisons……….$0

Wearing seat belts…………....$0


Childhood Interrupted …

"If a disease were killing our children in the proportions that injuries are, people would be outraged and demand that this killer be stopped”.

Crude rates may be affected by differences in the population structures. For example, disproportionate poverty, poor education, cultural differences, and inadequate health service delivery, result in higher crude death rates for injury deaths in many Tribal Communities.

“AI/AN are 204% more likely to suffer premature death from injuries than other Americans.”

NIHB 02/14/2006 testimony to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

Funding is needed to:

  • Purpose
  • To serve as an advocate and liaison with National partners.
  • To enhance the capacity of Tribes to address and fund Injury Prevention Programs.
  • To work with Tribes to obtain input and provide information.
  • To work with IHS Area Specialists, e.g., during the IHS area budget formulation process.
  • To participate on a regional and National level via conference calls and National TSC meetings.
  • Objectives
  • On a National level, raise awareness of, and support for, injury prevention activities in Native American and Alaskan Native Communities.
  • Enhance the ability of Tribes to address injury problems in their communities.
  • Provide advice and guidance to the Injury Prevention Program of the Indian Health Service.
  • Gather area-specific information on injury problems and activities.
  • Advocate for adequate funding of IP programs in Native American Communities.

AI/AN Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) before age 65 by cause. 1999-2003.

Native American/Alaska Natives

average age at death (Nashville Area Data)

  • Assist each Tribe in developing and sustaining basic injury prevention programs which include; occupant protection; fire prevention and detection; drunk driving prevention; domestic violence prevention; drowning prevention; home safety risk assessments; head injury prevention; poison prevention; firearms safety; homicide and suicide prevention; etc.
  • Facilitate data collection to identify Tribal injury trends and disparities.
  • Develop and administer injury prevention strategies that are sustainable.
  • Provide tribal governments and tribal communities information on injury disparities justifying the importance and need for injury prevention.
  • Provide educational opportunities that support and distinguish injury prevention as a credentialed career field.
  • Facilitate retaining qualified Tribal Injury Prevention Specialists by providing quality job career opportunities at the Tribal and National level.
  • Promote and develop injury prevention specific positions within each area of the Indian Health Service.
  • Save lives.

Years of Productive Life Lost



Malignant Neoplasm



Injuries are killing Native American adults and children at a tremendously alarming and disproportionate rate compared to non-native Americans. The comparative level of funding for injury prevention falls devastatingly short in comparison to other health disparities that plague Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The medical, emotional and societal cost of injuries far exceed the cost of establishing sustainable injury prevention programs and strategies.

It is tremendously important to understand that there is a great need for additional funding to address injuries as a health disparity, to provide educational information to communities and Tribal Government. The lack of programs, as well as the lack of injury prevention specialists at the Tribal level, substantiate the need for funding to promote injury prevention as a career field.

For further information, or to contact your area TSC representative please visit our website at:



Leading causes of death for Native Americans

under 44 years of age.

CDC (WISQARS)1999-2003

Injuries are the leading cause of death for AI/AN under 44 years of age.

6642 deaths to Injuries

823 deaths to Heart Disease

761 deaths to Malignant Neoplasm

189 deaths to Cerebrovascular Disease

185 deaths to Diabetes Mellitus

National Injury Facts

  • Indians die from injuries at rates more than twice that of other Americans.
  • More years of productive life are lost due to injuries than the next four causes combined.
  • IHS spends in excess of $150 million annually for medical treatment of injuries.
  • The injury death rate for Indian males under the age of 45 is 3 times the U.S. all races rate.
  • Indian males are 3 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than non-Indians.
  • Indian males are 6 times more likely to be killed as a pedestrian than white males.
  • Alaska Native males die from drowning at rates 17 times that of non-Native males.

Injuries are not accidents, injuries are foreseeable and they are preventable. To say that injuries are accidents implies that there is nothing we can do to prevent injuries.