Availability of Specialty Health Care for Rural American Indians and Alaska Natives

Research center:
Lead researcher:
Project completed:
January 2003
An issue of concern that has been identified by providers in WWAMI region is the availability of specialty services to American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) populations. This study has three primary aims:
  • To assess the level of access to medical and surgical specialty services for AI/ANs in Montana and New Mexico;
  • To identify a network of sites caring for AI/ANs throughout the WWAMI region that can serve as a base for research in AI/AN health issues; and
  • To identify a research agenda in rural AI/AN health in our region, consulting with our network of practice sites.
The primary source of information regarding access to specialty services was a mail survey with telephone follow-up of primary care providers in Montana and New Mexico who work in Indian Health Services and tribal health facilities, regarding their patients' access to specialty care, and strategies they have used to improve access to specialty services. We also surveyed a random sample of other primary care providers from the same communities to identify whether specialty access difficulties are specific to AI/AN populations, or reflect the overall community.


  • Access to Specialty Health Care for Rural American Indians in Two States
    Journal Article
    WWAMI Rural Health Research Center
    Date: 06/2008
    Examines access to specialty services among rural Indian populations in Montana and New Mexico, based on a survey sent to primary care providers addressing access to specialty physicians, perceived barriers to access, and access to nonphysician clinical services.