YKHC is pleased to share that its Neqkiuryaraq (or The Art of Preparing Food) project was awarded $5 million dollars over a span of five years to work towards improvements in health, food sovereignty and food security. This work will be done in collaboration with partners at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Bethel Community Services Foundation, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, tribes, schools, and businesses in our region.
Alaska Natives in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta experience a life expectancy 10 years less than the U.S. average due to diet-related diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Although the region is culturally tied to healthy Native foods, a traditional lifestyle has become more difficult as stores stock unhealthy, shelf-stable food, while perishable foods, such as fresh produce, are scarce and unaffordable.
The Neqkiuryaraq project will focus on building a local food system that integrates traditional knowledge, promotes healthy and culturally acceptable foods, and employs community members.
The funding was awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund Community Partnerships to Advance Science for Society (ComPASS) program. NIH is directly funding research projects led by community organizations. Leaders from the organizations work with their research partners at academic institutions and other organizations in all phases of the research process. ComPASS projects study social determinants of health — the social, physical, and economic conditions where people are born, grow, live, work, age, and play — that contribute to health inequities. For more information about the NIH ComPASS, please visit https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-launches-community-led-research-program-advance-health-equity