Introduction Injuries are the leading cause of death for American Indians ages 1–44 and the third leading cause of death overall. American Indians experience mortality and morbidity from injuries at disproportionate rates as compared to the overall US population. Understanding causes of death can inform prevention programming. The White Mountain Apache Tribe resides on the Fort Apache Reservation, a land mass the size of Delaware, and is part of the ‘Phoenix Area’ Indian Health Service region. The tribe has approximately 17 500 enrolled members; a third are 10–24 years old.
Methods Mortality data from the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) was requested and received from the Arizona Department of Health Services. The data represents mortality death for American Indians residents of Arizona within selected zip codes for WMAT for 2006–2014. Causes of deaths were analysed by primary diagnosis code, and cross tabulated by age. A preventable mortality analysis is planned to expand understanding of the circumstances of unintentional injury deaths.
Results A total of 114 unintentional deaths were recorded in the Arizona Department of Health Services vital records database from 2006–2014 from the selected zip codes. Motor vehicle fatalities (n=50) represent the greatest number of deaths for both children (n=14) and adults (n=36). Poisonings were the second leading cause of unintentional injury death (n=30). Nearly all poisoning deaths were adults (n=28). Additional unintentional injury categories with multiple deaths include falls (n=9); suffocation (n=6); drowning (n=5); and natural/environmental (n=4). A total of n=23 (20%) of deaths occurred in individuals less than twenty years old. Preventable mortality analysis results will be summarised and presented.
Conclusions These findings have significant implications for prevention efforts in the White Mountain Apache Tribal community. WMAT will prioritise the reduction of motor vehicle accidents and poisoning deaths. Understanding causes of death can inform prevention programming and priority setting.