To characterize the burden of unintentional injury mortality among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and identify segments of the population that may especially benefit from policy and practice actions to reduce unintentional injury mortality risk factors.
Surveillance of mortality data from CDC WONDER and WISQARS online databases.
The 3 states in the Indian Health Service (IHS) Bemidji Area: Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
AI/ANs and whites who died from unintentional injuries in 2011-2015 in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Main Outcome Measure:
Unintentional injury mortality rates and AI/AN versus white unintentional injury mortality disparity ratios.
For all types of unintentional injury mortality, from 2011 to 2015, AI/ANs in the Bemidji Area died at an age-adjusted rate that was 77% higher than that for whites, a statistically significant difference. For AI/ANs in the 3-state area, the top cause of unintentional death was poisoning. The poisoning rate was a statistically significant 2.64 times as high for AI/ANs as that for whites, the highest disparity seen by type. When analyzed by age, gender, and rural/urban residence, unintentional injury mortality rates were almost always higher for AI/ANs. AI/ANs also had a much higher burden of years of potential life lost.
Unintentional injury mortality significantly affects AI/ANs in the 3-state area and to a larger degree than for whites. However, some of the risk factors for unintentional injury are modifiable and, if addressed effectively, can reduce injury deaths. Governments, local leaders, organizations, and individuals can reduce AI/ANs' risk of unintentional injury by providing effective programming; encouraging or modeling behavior change; advocating for, creating, and enforcing laws and policies; and making infrastructure improvements. Increased attention to this topic and equitable efforts to reduce risk factors have great potential to reduce the burden of unintentional injury deaths for AI/ANs and all peoples.