Honoring Health Newsletter

From the NIH Tribal Health Research Office | Fall 2023

Posted on September 22, 2023

News and Events

For regular Tribal health news updates, visit the NIH Tribal Health News webpage.

Celebrating Native American Culture and Contributions to Science

Every fall, THRO celebrates national Native American Heritage Month, a special opportunity for us to highlight American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) culture, ingenuity, and contributions to biomedical research. Join us for our annual guest lecture in November, view our yearly posters, and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook for NIH Tribal health research highlights and shareable information all month long—and beyond! When available, new information about our 2023 lecture will be included on the THRO Native American Heritage Month webpage.

August Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting

NIH welcomed Tribal leaders to the annual NIH Tribal Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting on August 16–17, 2023. The two-day meeting included panels with NIH-funded AI/AN investigators, presentations on NIH research relating to Tribal health, a meeting with NIH leadership, and a tour of the NIH Clinical Center. Credit: Chia-chi Chang, NIH

NIH Establishes Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence

On August 17, 2023, NIH awarded $24 million in first-year funding to establish Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence, including centers focused on Indigenous maternal health.

Welcome, Dr. Caldwell!

THRO recently welcomed Dr. Sheila Caldwell, Mi’kmaq descendant, as senior science and policy advisor. Dr. Caldwell provides expert guidance and assistance on major Tribal health research policy issues affecting NIH, the biomedical research enterprise, and AI/AN communities across the country. She joined the team from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), where she directed the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program, as well as components of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program.

Beyond Survivance: Thrivance Among American Indian and Alaska Native Cancer Survivors

On November 7, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. EST, the Office of Cancer Survivorship (OCS) at the National Cancer Institute will host a presentation by THRO Director Dr. Karina Walters as part of their Director’s Series. For more information and to register for this upcoming webinar, please visit the OCS Events website.

Tribal Health Research Office Director Meets With American Indian and Alaska Native Scholars at the 2023 Health Disparities Research Institute

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) is excited to welcome four AI/AN scholars at this year’s Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI). THRO Director Dr. Karina Walters met with the 2023 scholars. The HDRI supports early career minority health and health disparities research scientists and features lectures on minority health and health disparities research, small group discussions, mock grant review, and seminars. Consider joining next year’s scholars and submit your application in early 2024 on the NIMHD website.

Congratulations to our AI/AN scholars!

Models of Tribal Research Governance and Ethical Oversight Workshop

PRIM&R is offering this Models of Tribal Research Governance and Ethical Oversight workshop for free to people who are actively working on or staffing Tribal Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) or supporting research review in Tribal communities, or who will be doing this work within the next year. This includes individuals who work at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) that are looking to expand research oversight capacity, create policies, and other related activities.

The NHGRI Office for Training, Diversity, and Health Equity is providing funding for the workshop, which is enabling PRIM&R to waive the usual workshop registration fees for eligible participants, and to offer Institutional Capacity Building (ICB) scholarships for travel and lodging as well as registration for the main conference.

If you work for a TCU or Tribal IRB and require travel assistance and/or a scholarship to the 2023 PRIM&R Annual Conference (PRIMR23), apply for the ICB Scholarship Program, as well.

Apply for the free workshop registration by November 10.

THRO Announces New Job Openings for Health Scientist Administrators

Get your resumes ready, we’re hiring! THRO will be accepting applications at multiple experience levels for two Health Scientist Administrators between September 18 and September 27, 2023. Learn more about these new job openings at https://www.usajobs.gov/job/747078300 and please share with your networks to help us spread the word!

Tribal Consultations

All of Us Research Program Hosts a September Virtual Tribal Consultation

NIH’s All of Us Research Program is hosting a virtual Tribal Consultation with federally recognized AI/AN Tribes and Urban Indian organizations on September 28, 2023, from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT. The Consultation is intended to gather feedback from Tribal leaders on several All of Us priorities, including integrating data from self-identified AI/AN participants into the program’s data platform, the All of Us Researcher Workbench, in the future. The Consultation will discuss efforts to advance more health discoveries by making the platform more accessible to researchers, including those from international academic, not-for-profit, and health care organizations. All of Us is committed to continuing dialogue with Tribal communities, which includes listening sessions and Tribal Consultations that began in 2019. To register for the upcoming Consultation, visit the All of Us Tribal engagement website. Following the Consultation, elected Tribal officials are encouraged to submit written feedback to AOUTribal@nih.gov by October 28, 2023, with the subject line “All of Us Tribal Consultation written response.” We invite Tribal leaders to watch recordings of our recent informational sessions with Tribal communities in preparation for the Consultation on September 28. More details about the Consultation, including guiding questions, are available in the Federal Register notice.

Funding Opportunities

Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health

The Intervention Research to Improve Native American Health (IRINAH) program has published three notice of funding opportunities, utilizing different grant mechanisms to support varying levels of research: PAR-23-298 for R01s, PAR-23-299 for R21s, and PAR-23-285 for R34s. Visit the IRINAH webpage for more information about the program.

Native American Research Centers for Health

The NARCH program (PAR-23-166) supports federally recognized AI/AN Tribes and TCUs, Tribal health programs, and Tribal organizations. The program funds health-related research, research career enhancement, and research infrastructure enhancement activities. Potential applicants are encouraged to consult with the program staff listed in the notice of funding opportunity about the suitability of proposed NARCH applications. For more information about the program and a list of currently funded centers, visit the NARCH webpage. The first application due date is July 8, 2024.

Native Collective Research Effort to Enhance Wellness Program Research Opportunities

Apply Today! A new research opportunity was established to support Tribes and Native American–Serving Organizations (T/NASOs) to conduct locally prioritized research to address overdose; substance use; pain; and related factors, such as mental health and wellness.

Part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, the Native Collective Research Effort to Enhance Wellness (N CREW) Program is a highly collaborative partnership between NIH, T/NASOs, and ally organizations established to respond directly to the drug overdose and addiction public health emergency.

Two research opportunity announcements—OTA-23-007 and OTA-23-008—are now accepting applications. The application deadline is November 1, 2023. For more information, visit the N CREW Program webpage.

New Funding Opportunity: ADVANCE Predoctoral T32 Training Program to Promote Prevention Workforce Diversity

Help diversify the prevention workforce with a predoctoral research training program!

The NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) and participating institutes, centers, and offices are inviting applications to develop Advancing Prevention Research for Health Equity (ADVANCE) T32 programs to train predoctoral scholars from diverse backgrounds in the following three areas:

  • Health disparities and health equity research
  • Development and implementation of multilevel preventive interventions
  • Methods for the design and analysis of studies to evaluate multilevel preventive interventions

The funding opportunity (RFA-OD-23-018) encourages institutions to diversify the trainee applicant pool by recruiting potential candidates from diverse backgrounds, including groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and social sciences.

Applications are due October 31, 2023.

This funding opportunity was developed by the ODP-coordinated ADVANCE initiative, an NIH-wide effort to develop and evaluate preventive interventions that address health disparities.

National Institutes of Health Funding Opportunities

Visit the NIH Grants and Funding webpage to view a variety of funding opportunities aimed at speeding innovative research and driving better health outcomes.

Student Trainings and Internships

Student Internship Opportunities

NIH recognizes that investing in future scientists influences the health and well-being of generations to come. There are opportunities for students (high school and beyond) at the world’s largest biomedical research agency.



Advanced Training in Artificial Intelligence for Precision Nutrition Science Research

NIH is supporting institutional training programs to expand and diversify the nutrition science workforce. Once funded, these centers will include opportunities for Native students who are interested in careers in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The goal is to build a future workforce that will be able to use growing data resources to tackle complex biomedical challenges in nutrition science that are beyond human intuition. It is expected that such research will lead to the development of innovative solutions to combat diet-related chronic diseases and nutrition disparities within the mission areas of the participating NIH institutes, centers, and offices (ICOs). The vision for the Advanced Training in Artificial Intelligence for Precision Nutrition (AIPrN) program is to support the development of a diverse research workforce with advanced competencies in AI, ML, and data science analytics to apply to an increasingly complex landscape of big data, including molecular, organismal, community, and societal levels related to nutrition and diet-related conditions. For additional information on the AIPrN training program (T32), contact the NIH Office of Nutrition Research, nutritionresearch@nih.gov.



Institutional Capacity Building Scholarship Program

Oversight staff who work for TCUs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, or health institutions serving minority populations with significant health disparities—such as community clinics, regional or area Indian Health Boards, and Tribal governments—may apply for this scholarship program. ICB scholarships provide free registration to PRIMR23 and the choice of a 2023 Social, Behavioral, Educational Research (SBER23) or PRIMR23 workshop. Some associated travel costs are covered.

Apply for the ICB scholarship by September 22.



Explore Training and Employment Opportunities!



NIGMS Seeking New Branch Chief for the Division for Research Capacity Building

NIGMS is seeking a highly qualified scientist to serve as a branch chief in their Division for Research Capacity Building.

Applicants should have an interest in programs managed by the Division, including NARCH, the IDeA program, the Support for Research Excellence (SuRE) program, and the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program.

Applications will be accepted September 18–27, 2023. Learn more on the NIGMS blog.

Research Highlights

The Indigenous Health Collection in Environmental Health Perspectives

Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a monthly open access journal with publication support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, has curated the Indigenous Health Collection, which includes notable studies published in the journal through 2019 of unique environmental exposures faced by Indigenous populations and studies about other links to health disparities. 

With this collection, EHP presents research, reviews, and commentaries that focus on environmental exposures, health effects, and research considerations relevant to Indigenous populations, particularly in North America. In addition, a variety of feature articles explore numerous aspects of Tribal environmental health, including housing, diet, regulatory concerns, and the legacy of resource extraction in the Southwest.

Advancing American Indian and Alaska Native Health Through Research, Training, and Engagement

NIGMS-supported researchers, including Native scientists like Dr. Claw and Alec, are partnering with AI/AN Tribes to help reduce health disparities by conducting research focused on AI/AN health priorities and building infrastructure that supports research in those communities. “A lot of people think there’s conflict between Indigenous worldviews and science, but I think there are ways to bring both into the research space,” says Katrina Claw, Ph.D. Alec Calac, a student in an NIGMS-supported Medical Science Training Program, says, “What keeps me going is that there’s no shortage of things to do when it comes to Native health. We have centuries-long health disparities to close.” Find more information on these and other stories in the NIGMS Biomedical Beat blog post, “Advancing American Indian and Alaska Native Health Through Research, Training, and Engagement.”

JAMA Psychiatry Paper Acknowledges Two National Institute of Mental Health Awards

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Society (JAMA) Psychiatry, Evaluation of the Risk Identification for Suicide and Enhanced Care Model in a Native American Community, explored a model for suicide risk identification to evaluate whether it was associated with improved reach of evidence-based care and reduced subsequent suicide-related behavior among high-risk individuals. The article acknowledged two National Institute of Mental Health Awards. Read the full article on the JAMA Psychiatry website.

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