Native People’s Health

Alaska Health Survey Team with C. Earl Albrecht, 1953Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage, C. Earl Albrecht papers

Commissioned by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the 1954 Alaska’s Health Survey Report (commonly known as The Parran Report) found that Alaska Native peoples disproportionately suffered from disabling conditions and premature deaths. Conditions that the report called common in the poorest countries in the world, including malnourishment, were present among Alaska Natives. The report suggested that the U.S. should offer Alaska Natives the same services it provided to disaster victims around the world.  Dr. Thomas Parran was Surgeon General of the United States, and Dr. C. Earl Albrecht was Alaska’s first health commissioner.

From the Parran Report:  “The higher mortality of the Alaska natives as contrasted to the mortality of the whites and non-whites in the States and the whites of Alaska becomes strikingly more apparent when we examine the age specific mortality rates. For the groups below 45 years of age, mortality of the natives is two to three times as high as that of the States non-whites, and three to four times as high as those of the States whites and the Alaska whites.”