Formative Evaluation and Adaptation of a Navajo Cancer Survivor Physical Activity Intervention to Serve a Broader Native American Cancer Survivor Community

Jennifer W. Bea, Brenda Charley, Taylor Lane, Brian Kinslow, Hendrik ‘Dirk’ de Heer, Etta Yazzie, Janet Yellowhair, Jennifer Hudson, Betsy C. Wertheim, Anna L. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although exercise has been shown to improve cancer survivorship in other communities, cancer exercise studies among Native American communities are rare. We sought to adapt a Navajo-tailored cancer exercise pilot program to serve a broader Native American cancer community. Methods: Tribal experts representing 10 different Tribal Nations were engaged in small focus groups (n = 2–4) to assess program materials for cultural appropriateness and adaptation to expand tribal inclusiveness. Facilitated by a trained Native American interviewer, focus groups were provided a primer survey and then reviewed intervention materials (protocols, incentives, logo, flyers, etc.). Consensus was reached by the research team on all program adaptations. Results: The program name, Restoring Balance, layout, graphics, and symbols were considered culturally appropriate overall. Program exercises and biomarker measurements were viewed as valuable to health improvements in the community. Important color, linguistic, and logistic program modifications were recommended to improve cultural alignment. The order of incentive items was revised to highlight restoration and the logo rotated to align with the four corners of the earth, an important cultural element. Linguistic modifications primarily related to prior traumatic research experiences in Native American communities where data had been taken without adequate community benefit or permission. Program emphasis should be on nurturing, added value and giving. Conclusion and Relevance: The methodology used for cultural expert review was successful in eliciting adaptations to expand the tribal inclusiveness of Restoring Balance. Culture, as well as historically traumatic research experiences, among Native American populations must be considered when adapting health promotion programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-408
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Promotion Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024


  • American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • Native American
  • cancer survivorship
  • cultural adaptation
  • exercise
  • exercise oncology
  • intervention mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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