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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2003 Jan-Mar;35(1):59-62.

The Women's Circle comes full circle.

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Family & Child Guidance Clinic, Native American Health Center, Oakland/San Francisco, California 94601, USA.


Women have been the backbone of service provision for health and healing in the Native American community in the San Francisco Bay Area. The contributions of Native women are exemplified in the Women's Circle of the Native American Health Centers in San Francisco and Oakland. Women receive a broad range of services through the Women's Circle--in a coed residential substance abuse treatment facility (Friendship House), in groups, in one-on-one counseling, and at the Friendship House American Indian Lodge, a residential women and children's facility in Oakland. This article will look at lessons learned, using both quantitative outcome measures and ethnographic means to examine the impact of the Women's Circle and how the circle was completed. Program staff were interviewed to gain insight into how the program impacted female clients. The article juxtaposes the program elements clients identified as important to their healing and staff's perceptions about the growth of the program. Distinct women's health issues--physical, emotional, mental and spiritual-sculpted program development. Significant findings and lifestyle changes that occurred around involvement in the Women's Circle are examined.

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