Improving Emergency Medical Service Response to Motor Vehicle Crashes in American Indian Reservations

Principal Investigator:

Kathryn Quick, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


Project Summary:

The study's purpose is to identify needs and recommend interventions to improve emergency medical services (EMS) response to MVCs in American Indian reservations. This project relates strongly to the Institute's focus on safety on tribal lands and safety policy and goals to promote implementation to improve roadway safety and develop partnerships with government agencies. MVCs are the leading cause of unintentional injury for American Indians ages 1 to 44 (Raynault et al. 2010), whose MVC fatality rate is the highest of any US ethnic or racial group (Pollack et al. 2012). While the gap may be narrowing (Li & Bhagavathula 2016), MVC impacts for American Indians remain unacceptably high. Little research has been conducted to explain the risk factors or test interventions. Previously, we created innovative methodologies to collect local knowledge about reservation roadway safety (Narvaez & Quick 2016). Using those results and literature review, we helped FHWA's Tribal Transportation Program design a national survey of tribes. Asked the top three of sources of roadway safety risk on their reservations, 18% of 150 tribal government respondents selected "slow emergency response time." The survey indicates that inadequate EMS response is a critical problem, in the informed opinion of the people with the greatest knowledge and interest in roadway safety on reservations. The California Tribal Road Safety Data Project has gathered similar data (Ragland 2016). Emergency response barriers may include the condition of the roadway, access and connectivity to remote areas, long travel times to trauma centers, and poor address and mapping data for emergency dispatch (Miller & Killia, 2017); our own data suggest Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities and coordination among EMS agencies may improve response. However, no systematic research has been done to identify what the EMS problem is. This project will fill a critical knowledge gap for effective interventions.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 02/2018
  • Project Status: Active
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety