Innovation on the Reservation: Information technology and health systems research among the papago tribe of Arizona, 1965–1980

Jeremy A. Greene, Victor Braitberg, Gabriella Maya Bernadett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In May 1973 a new collaboration between NASA, the Indian Health Service, and the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company promised to transform the way members of the Papago (now Tohono O’odham) Tribe of southern Arizona accessed modern medicine. Through a system of state-of-the-art microwave relays, slow-scan television links, and Mobile Health Units, the residents of the third-largest American Indian reservation began to access physicians remotely via telemedical encounters instead of traveling to distant hospitals. Examining the history of the STARPAHC (Space Technology Applied to Rural Papago Advanced Health Care) project from the perspective of NASA and its contractors, from the perspective of the Indian Health Service, and from the perspective of O’odham engineers and health professionals offers a new focus, emphasizing the American Indian reservation as a site of medical research and technological development in the late twentieth century, with specific attention to the promise of information technology to address health disparities and the role of American Indians as actors in the late twentieth-century history of science, technology, and medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-470
Number of pages28
JournalISIS
Volume111
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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