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GONA at Native American Health Center

About Us

The Native American Health Center (NAHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center that has been operating since 1972. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, NAHC is a 501(C)(3) non-profit, Federally-Qualified Health Center, AAAHC accredited Community Health Center, and urban Indian organization. NAHC’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by members of the local American Indian community.

Mission

To provide comprehensive services to improve the health and well-being of AIAN, and residents of the surrounding communities, with respect for cultural and linguistic differences.

Approach to programming

NAHC provides comprehensive and integrated medical, dental, behavioral health, cultural and social services to the diverse and underserved community members within the neighborhoods surrounding five clinics located in Alameda, and San Francisco Counties.

California Reducing Disparities
Our CRDP Program is the GONA intervention (Gathering of Native Americans) which is housed in NAHC’s Community Wellness Department (CWD). Youth Services, within the Community Wellness Department has the primary responsibility over continuous quality improvement and delivery of the GONA intervention. However, NAHC is also conducting GONAs for adults and families. Pasted below is the content of one of the slides provided by our Director of Youth Services in the attached presentation. In addition, it is important to note the GONA has grown dramatically in California and other states to the point where we now part of what is known as the GONA Collaborative which is a consortium of about 6-8 Indian Health Programs/Organizations in both urban and non-urban settings.

GONA is four-day healing journey that explores the issues brought on by multigenerational trauma. The GONA is a powerful yet flexible curricula originally commissioned by the US Center of Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) to four communities in the early 90’s

– GONA – Gathering of Native Americans
– APII – Asian Pacific Islander Institute
– HILI – Hispanic Latino Leadership Institute
– IAAM – Institute for African American Mobilization

GONA is the only curriculum that is still utilized

The GONA curriculum was created by a dedicated team of Native American, Social Workers, Healers, and National Leaders in wellness, policy scholars and practitioners of Alcohol drug prevention. It was developed after other community development projects and curricula failed for their lack of cultural and traditional components. Over the last 28 years, thousands of GONAS have been facilitated all over North America in both the United States and Canada. Hundreds of thousands of folks have experienced the GONA either with their family/ tribal community, youth, women and men’s only trainings or in a treatment setting or as a community development event. Through the four components of Belonging, Mastery, Interdependence and Generosity we start to examine how to be an active participant in our own life and community wellness.

Who We Are

The Native American Health Center (NAHC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center that has been operating since 1972. Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, NAHC is a 501(C)(3) non-profit, Federally-Qualified Health Center, AAAHC accredited Community Health Center, and urban Indian organization. NAHC’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by members of the local American Indian community.

The Native American Health Center (NAHC)

NAHC is a Federally Qualified Health Center. NAHC has around 250 – 300 employees spread over multiple departments: Member Services/Enrollment, Community Wellness Department, Women Infant & Children, Medical, Dental, Pediatric Dental, Behavioural Health, Women Infant and Children, School Services, Social Services, Chronic Diseases, Billing, Finance, Information Services, Human Resources.

NAHC Youth Services – Gathering of Native Americans (GONA)

The GONA is a comprehensive manualized 4-day group intervention. It is normal for 30 – 50 youth to attend a GONA. The GONA curriculum was created by a dedicated team of Native American, Social Workers, Healers, and National Leaders in wellness, policy scholars and practitioners of Alcohol drug prevention.

The GONA has been described as a ‘cultural booster shot’ and a form of ‘emersion therapy’ where youth learn a healthier way to be and live. Due to the comprehensive nature and curriculum in the GONA’s 4-day intervention, it takes many staff to deliver a GONA. All staff must have GONA specific training. Download our PowerPoint presentation about GONA below.

At a given GONA it IS normal to have as many as 20 trained staff

1) NAHC GONA team: 10 – Facilitators and fidelity/CQI evaluators from Youth Services and other NAHC departments

2) Peacekeepers: 6 – Leadership Program youth (Under 18 years with previous GONA experience)

3) Clinicians: 4 – Native and Non-Native (Clinical Support Team)

News & Updates

  • Covid-19 resulted in the piloting of the first virtual GONA. Since this is a virtual GONA and not the exact same intervention as the typical manualized 4-day GONA, data from the virtual GONA will not be pooled, for CRDP analyses purposes, with previous on-site GONAs.
  • The retrospective study of youth who have participated in GONA’s in previous years has been implemented where a youth Community Advisory Board is working with the team to refine the methods.

Projects & Publications

Our CRDP project directly resulted in what we are now calling the Culture is Prevention Project which in many aspects is now a research program. The Culture is Prevention project derived from the knowledge that for Native Americans, culture is a strong and important
Social Determinant of Health. Project objectives include demonstrating that strengthening, connecting or reconnection to Native American culture, traditions, wisdom and values supports health and well-being. This was well described by Janet King (2015): “Health is embedded in our culture.”

To date the Culture is Prevention project has resulted in two publications addressing the developed and validated Cultural Connectedness Scale-California and research funding to further explore the relationships between Native/Indigenous culture and physical and
mental health outcomes.

Contact Us

Principal contact persons

Crystal Salas, Director – Youth Services
Crystals@nativehealth.org
510 435-5483

Karina Banuelos, Program Coordinator, Evaluator
kbanuelos@nativehealth.org
510 434-5487

Dr. Jami Bartgis, CRDP – External Evaluator
jbartgis@gmail.com

Dr. Paul Masotti, Director Research/Evaluation
pmasotti@nativehealth.org
510 434-5448

LOCAL EVALUATION REPORT

Native American Health Center—Alameda County