Approach to programming
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)
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.
Principal contact persons
Crystal Salas, Director – Youth Services
Karina Banuelos, Program Coordinator, Evaluator
Dr. Jami Bartgis, CRDP – External Evaluator
Dr. Paul Masotti, Director Research/Evaluation