MOST of Us has partnered with the MSU School of Nursing for a unique, interdisciplinary project that explores culturally-appropriate methods of assessing methylmercury exposure risk among American Indian women. The project focuses on women of childbearing age who live on rural reservations, a population that is highly vulnerable to the chronic neurobehavioral effects of methylmercury exposure through fish consumption.

In addition to evaluating existing data, MOST of Us and the project team will collect new data, using a survey instrument modified with the input of two American Indian consultants. The team will look at risk communication strategies currently in place on rural reservations in Montana, and use this and other information to develop a culturally-sensitive, participatory approach to measuring exposure risk and disseminating risk communication messages among women enrolled in tribal Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) programs in Montana

This project will be piloted on the Flathead Reservation, home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, in Northwestern Montana. By the end of the pilot intervention, the research team will be prepared to launch a survey of methylmercury awareness and assessment of risk among rural American Indian women across the Northwestern states.

Sponsor: National Institutes of Health