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National Institutes of Health - Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives

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Tribal Health Research Office

Established in 2015, the Tribal Health Research Office is located in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director (OD), NIH. The office was created in recognition of the importance of ensuring meaningful input from and collaboration with tribal Nations on NIH programs and policies. The Tribal Health Research Office functions are to:

  • coordinate tribal health research-related activities across NIH
  • serve as a liaison to and NIH representative on tribal health related committees and working groups
  • coordinate and support the NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee
  • collaborate with NIH Institutes and Centers on the development of reports on tribal health topics
  • manage information dissemination related to tribal health research coordination
  • convene trans-NIH committees, workshops, meetings and other activities related to tribal health research and scientific priorities
  • coordinate with NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) to leverage resources or develop initiatives to support tribal health research
  • convene at least yearly Tribal Consultation sessions

NIH Guidance on Implementation of HHS Tribal Consultation Policy

In 2013, the NIH issued its Guidance on the Implementation of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy that describes how the agency will consult with and share information with the Indian tribes about planned and current NIH programs relevant to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) health research.  The purpose of the NIH guidance is to facilitate the implementation of the HHS Tribal Consultation PolicyFollowing the issue of the Tribal Consultation Policy, the Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) was established in September, 2015. The NIH convened its first consultation session on September 21, 2015.

NIH Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC)

The TAC is advisory to the NIH, and provides a forum for meetings between elected Tribal officials (or their designated representatives) and NIH officials to exchange views, share information, and seek advice concerning intergovernmental  responsibilities related to the implementation and administration of NIH programs. (See our charter for more information.) It was established to help ensure that Tribes and AI/AN people have meaningful and timely input in the development of NIH policies, programs, and priorities.  The NIH TAC seeks to ensure that NIH policies or activities that affect AI/AN communities are brought to the attention of Tribal leaders.

The NIH TAC charter calls for representation from each of the 12 geographic areas served by the Indian Health Service (IHS) including Alaska, Albuquerque, Bemidji, Billings, California, Great Plains, Nashville, Navajo, Oklahoma, Phoenix, Portland, and Tucson. In addition, the NIH TAC charter calls for one representative (and a designated alternate) for each of five National at-large Tribal member positions. The NIH TAC met for the first time on September 29-30, 2015.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tribal Consultation Policy

In 2004 and updated in 2010, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tribal Consultation Policy was issued. The policy directs HHS divisions to establish a process to ensure accountable, meaningful, and timely input by Tribal officials in the development of policies that have Tribal implications. The policy is applicable to all HHS staff and divisions, including the NIH, and supports President Obama’s national efforts on Tribal Consultation. (See the Presidential Memorandum on Tribal Consultation.) 


David R. Wilson, Ph.D.
David R. Wilson, Ph.D. is appointed as Director of THRO.

Announcement, by DPCPSI Director James M. Anderson, M.D., Ph.D.

Related Information

NIH Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC)

NIH AI/AN Research Activities – A Portfolio Summary

Tribal Consultation Sessions
Sep. 21, 2015
Oct. 9, 2016
Feb. 23, 2017

NIH Funding Support

Policies and Guidance

Health Information

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