Improving Chronic Illness Self-Management with the Apsáalooke Nation: The Báa nnilah Project, a cluster randomized trial protocol


Treatment fidelity remains underreported in health intervention research, particularly among Indigenous communities. One explanation for this gap is the lack of culturally consonant strategies listed in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Behavior Change Consortium (BCC) treatment fidelity framework, the gold standard for understanding and measuring fidelity. This paper focuses on the development and implementation of a culturally consonant treatment fidelity support plan across two of the five BCC fidelity areas, provider training and treatment delivery, within a chronic illness self-management program for the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation. Our team selected and adapted strategies from, and added strategies to, the BCC framework, that centered on relational accountability and the Apsáalooke culture. To be culturally consonant, we approached treatment fidelity as supporting Aakbaabaaniilea (Apsáalooke program facilitators) rather than monitoring them. This resulted in the development of a fifth treatment fidelity area: building and fostering relationships. We propose that fidelity to relational accountability is the foundation of successful programs in Indigenous communities. This suggests an important shift from tracking what was conducted in an intervention to prioritizing how things were conducted. We encourage others to view the BCC framework as a starting point in developing fidelity strategies that are consonant with local cultures.



treatment fidelity, relational accountability, community-based participatory research, chronic illness self-management, Indigenous, Indigenous research methods


Keene S, Allen S, McCormick AKHG, Trottier C, Bull Shows B, Hallett J, Deernose R, Held S. Developing and Implementing a Culturally Consonant Treatment Fidelity Support Plan with the Apsáalooke Nation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023; 20(21):6989.
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