Tribal Health News

Find NIH news, information, and resources related to Tribal health research and the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

March 27, 2023

Tracking COVID-19 Through Wastewater

NIH is funding studies on the use of wastewater testing to monitor SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, including in Tribal communities. Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben (Oglala Lakota) and her colleagues hope that the groundwork she has done will offer a template that any Tribe with wastewater treatment can use to monitor COVID-19 on their own.

March 16, 2023

NIH Director’s Statement: Dr. Karina Walters selected to lead NIH Tribal Health Research Office

NIH announces the selection of Karina L. Walters, Ph.D., M.S.W., an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, as director of THRO.

December 7, 2022

Event recording: 2022 annual NIH Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting

NIH hosts its annual TAC meeting, including virtual presentations from leaders across NIH and others involved in Tribal health research.

December 7, 2022

Webinar: Safety and health training for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Western U.S.

The Western Region Universities Consortium (WRUC), funded by the NIEHS Worker Training Program, partners with Tribal entities in the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, and Alaska to provide training on hazardous waste, hazmat transport, and emergency response, specifically in underserved and remote Tribal communities. Learn more about environmental training and job pathways for unemployed residents of rural Alaska communities disproportionately impacted by environmental health exposures.

November 16, 2022

Event recording: Protecting the health of future generations through community-based research and actions

THRO and NIEHS hosted a Native American Heritage Month virtual lecture about NIEHS-funded environmental health research in Alaska with co-presenters Viola “Vi” Waghiyi and Pamela Miller, of the Alaska Community Action on Toxics. Hear stories about the region and learn how this collaborative research began as the presenters discuss their decades of experience conducting community-based participatory research with local Tribes, including how their work has been informed by traditional and community knowledge, a summary of findings, and policy actions and interventions to protect health.

November 1, 2022

Lecture overview: Connection between culture and science

In a new resource, THRO summarizes key observations made by Dr. Donald Warne in his November 2021 guest lecture about the interconnectedness of Native culture and science. Recorded lecture is also available.

November 1, 2022

App provides culturally tailored fish consumption guidelines to Anishinaabe

A phone app for reducing exposure to harmful contaminants from fish consumption was developed for the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe and associated Great Lakes Tribes). It is called Gigiigoo’inaan, which means “our fish” in the Ojibwe language. Phone apps and online environmental health literacy resources can be effective ways to reach community members with important health information.

October 27, 2022

Honoring Health Newsletter – Fall 2022

This newsletter provides THRO-curated Tribal health research and funding news from across NIH.

September 29, 2022

New supplemental information to the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

NIH releases supplemental information to the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy on “Responsible Management and Sharing American Indian/Alaska Native Participant Data” that was developed in response to the Tribal Consultation on the Draft NIH Data Management and Sharing (DMS) Policy. The new information promotes trustworthy and mutually beneficial research partnerships respectful of Tribal sovereignty and incorporates input from Tribal leaders, the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee, and public comments from Native organizations and community members, researchers, institutions, data providers and users, and others. To learn more about this policy, you can watch the recordings of a two-part webinar series. In the second webinar, NIH takes a deeper dive into considerations for privacy protections for sharing human participant data when working with Native communities.

September 1, 2022

NIH launches challenge to advance community-based maternal health research

Part of the Implementing a Maternal health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative, a $3 million challenge competition seeks to encourage community-based and advocacy organizations to develop the infrastructure and capabilities necessary to conduct maternal health research. The initiative places special emphasis on health disparities and engaging underrepresented populations in research, including American Indian and Alaska Native and Black women who are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.