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$6 Million in Grants Awarded for American Indian and Alaska Native Research Centers

The Indian Health Service (IHS) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), both agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), have announced 13 American Indian and Alaska Native programs as the recipients of approximately $6 million in grant funds to support medical research efforts. The funding is from the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program, which is supported by IHS and NIGMS.

"These grants are the results of an ongoing collaboration between two HHS agencies. They are an important part of the efforts to improve the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native people," said Dr. Charles Grim, IHS Director. “Additional benefits from the NARCH program will be culturally sensitive research, and research influenced and sanctioned by Tribal communities."

“NIGMS is pleased to continue partnering with IHS in this important initiative,” said Dr. Jeremy M. Berg, NIGMS Director. “It is an innovative program that contributes to the NIH goals of improving the health of all Americans and reducing health disparities. In addition, the program aligns with our strong interest in increasing the number of minority scientists performing biomedical and behavioral research.”

Programs identified for the funding awards are:

• The Northwest Portland Area Health Board (Portland, OR) NARCH program is receiving $806,000 for programs targeted at the Northwest Indian population, including improving research skills for Indian students and health professionals, studying community intervention methods to reduce childhood obesity and caries, and studying use of the Internet to assist diabetes care in rural American Indians and Alaska Natives.
• The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Anchorage, AK) NARCH program is receiving $644,000 for research projects dealing with Alaska Native health issues such as autoimmune liver disease, nicotine exposure and metabolism; smoking prevention in Alaska Natives, bronchiectasis in Native children, and prenatal alcohol exposure.
• The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona American Indian Research Center for Health (Phoenix, AZ) is receiving $284,951 for the training of American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty, and health professionals in health research skills.
• The Chickasaw Nation Health System (Ada, OK) is receiving $227,412 for training and research into the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
• The Black Hills Center for American Indian Health (Rapid City, SD) is receiving $263,000 to study contextual issues in traditional Lakota healing.
• The White Mountain Apache Tribe (Whiteriver, AZ) NARCH program is receiving $758,441 for training and research into the prevention of pneumococcal spread within Apache families, as well as a project to prevent youth suicide using community-based, participatory research methods.
• The Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board (Albuquerque, NM) is receiving $824,442 for training and projects addressing substance abuse interventions, Tribal cancer control, and incarcerated youth.
• The Indian Health Council (Pauma Valley, CA) NARCH program in Southern California is receiving $452,444 for training as well as research into the burden and resilience among caregivers of frail elders.
• The Navajo Nation (Window Rock, AZ) is receiving $65,787 for work on a Navajo Ethnomedical Encyclopedia.
• The Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (Rapid City, SD) is receiving $376,000 for studies on asthma and diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native youth.
• The California Rural Indian Health Board (Sacramento, CA) is receiving $125,000 to study variation in preventable hospitalization outcomes in Tribal health programs.
• Additionally, existing NARCH programs at the Confederated Tribes of Siletz (Siletz, OR) and at the Great Lakes Inter Tribal Council (Lac Du Flambeau, WI) were continued. These programs are in their final year of funding from the previous cycle of NARCH awards.

Other NARCH funding partners are: The National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Disease; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; the National Cancer Institute; the NIH Office of Research on Women's Health; the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities; and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

More information on the NARCH program, with links to the grant announcement and application process, is available at