UW News

January 19, 1999

Sixteen American Indian and Alaska Native communities selected for program to provide Internet access to health resources

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

Sixteen American Indian and Alaska Native communities in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Montana and Idaho have been selected to participate in a National Libraries of Medicine program that will connect them to the Internet.

The project, called Tribal Connections, aims to improve community access to social and health resources. The Regional Medical Library at the University of Washington will work with American Indian and Alaska Native health care, social services and computer systems leaders to carry out this effort.

The grant will help fund network wiring installation, computer hardware purchases, and connection charges. It will also provide training and user support for tribal agencies such as health departments, schools, tribal colleges, clinics, environmental offices, and social service departments. In addition, the project team also will assist these agencies in creating Web sites to convey health information to their own and other communities. Among the health topics, for example, might be resources on AIDS and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection.

An advisory panel with a broad representation of experts will guide and oversee the project. Representatives will include American Indian and Alaska Native health professionals and experts in information and communication technologies for Native American communities.

The principal investigator for the UW Tribal Connections Project is Dr. Sherrilynne Fuller, director of the Regional Medical Library, associate professor of medical education and head of the Department of Medical Education’s Division of Biomedical Informatics. Dr. Fred Wood is the project officer at the National Library of Medicine. The project staff includes several UW librarians, including a specialist on American Indian resources.

Total grant funding is approximately $500,000. The project runs through March 2000. The communities selected to participate in the project are:


Arctic Slope Native Association, Barrow

Norton Sound Health Corporation, Nome

South East Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Juneau

Yup’ik, Toksook Bay

Nez Perce Tribe, Lapwai


Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Harlem

Fort Peck Tribes, Poplar


Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Pendleton


Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Angeles

Lummi Indian Nation, Bellingham

Nisqually Indian Tribe, Olympia

Samish Indian Nation, Anacortes

Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Darrington

Spokane Tribe of Indians, Wellpinit

Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Arlington

Suquamish Indian Reservation, Suquamish