About two-thirds of all American Indians and Alaska Natives live in urban areas, but their health needs receive little attention. In November 2005, the Seattle Indian Health Board convened an Urban Indian Health Commission to study the health status and health care needs of urban Indians.
On November 1, 2007, the Commission released a report, Invisible Tribes: Urban Indians and Their Health in a Changing World, at the National Press Club in Washington.
- Many urban Indians live in or near poverty, and so face multiple barriers to obtaining health care.
- Urban Indians are much more likely to seek health care from urban Indian health organizations than from non-Indian clinics, but the Indian clinics receive little federal support.
- The problem of addressing urban Indians' health needs is complicated by a lack of data about that population.
- Depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease occur at alarming rates and often coexist.