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Wisdom Warriors Program


Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Created by and for Native Americans

More than 89% of Indigenous American elders have been diagnosed with at least one chronic disease. Indigenous people have the highest prevalence of diabetes in the United States — more than twice that of non-Hispanic whites.

Wisdom Warriors is an evidence-based Chronic Disease Self-Management Program created by and for Native Americans. Based on the Self-Management Resource Center (SMRC) model, Wisdom Warriors uses a culturally relevant approach to empower Indigenous people to manage their diabetes symptoms.

For the past three years, Qualis Health has been partnering with Wisdom Warriors to train leaders and to support, spread and sustain the program.

As in the original SMRC model, Wisdom Warriors attend a series of six-week workshops led by trained facilitators. These workshops focus on building the skills necessary for successful symptom management and emphasize mutual support among group members.

In addition, the Wisdom Warriors program’s specialized approach incorporates cultural traditions and activities — medicine bags, powwow, carving, fishing and more. It also honors tribal sovereignty by encouraging tribal nations to tailor the program to fit their own customs and health needs. It’s ongoing and incentive-driven, giving participants the education, support and tools they need to make healthy choices and improve their own quality of life.

More than 800 Wisdom Warriors represent many tribes in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California and South Dakota. Wisdom Warriors are healing, living longer and getting more joy from supporting each other and their own healing processes.

Learn More about the Wisdom Warriors Program


Bring Wisdom Warriors to Your Community

To learn how to start a Wisdom Warrior program in your community, please contact:

Becky Bendixen
Tribal Specialist, Northwest Regional Council
bendire@dshs.wa.gov