Community Perspectives on Emergency Department Use and Care for American Indian Children

Wyatt J. Pickner, Katherine M. Ziegler, Jessica D. Hanson, Nathaniel R. Payne, Heather G. Zook, Anupam B. Kharbanda, Tess L. Weber, Jaymi N. Russo, Susan E. Puumala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Emergency department (ED) utilization by American Indian (AI) children is among the highest in the nation. Numerous health disparities have been well documented in AI children, but limited information is available on parental experiences of care for AI children in the ED. Our objective was to understand parental attitudes towards ED care for AI children. Focus groups were held with AI parents/caregivers at five sites in the Upper Midwest. Traditional content analysis was used to identify themes. A total of 70 parents participated in ten focus groups. Three main themes were identified: healthcare environment, access to care, and interaction with providers. Healthcare environment issues included availability of specialists, wait times, and child-friendly areas. Transportation and financial considerations were major topics in access to care. Issues in interaction with providers included discrimination, stereotyping, and trust. This is one of the first studies to assess parent perspectives on ED use for AI children. Obtaining parental perspectives on ED experiences is critical to improve patient care and provide important information for ED providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)939-946
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This study was funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health, Award Number U54MD008164. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute.


  • American Indian
  • Emergency department
  • Healthcare
  • Pediatrics


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