Honoring Health Newsletter

From the NIH Tribal Health Research Office | Spring 2023

Posted on April 21, 2023

News and Events

Dr. Karina Walters Selected to Lead NIH Tribal Health Research Office

Photo of Karina L. Walters, Ph.D., M.S.W.

Dr. Lawrence Tabak, who is performing the duties of the National Institutes of Health director, announced the selection of Dr. Karina L. Walters as the new director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office (THRO). She will succeed Dr. David Wilson, who has taken an assignment at the White House Council on Native American Affairs. Dr. Walters is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma with more than 28 years of experience in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) health research. As THRO director, she will advance initiatives to ensure Tribally informed biomedical and behavioral research, enhance NIH’s Tribal Consultation and Tribal engagement efforts, and coordinate AI/AN research across NIH and with other federal entities. Dr. Walters begins her new role in late April 2023.

Updated THRO Website

The newly refreshed THRO website, https://nih.gov/tribalhealth, is designed to be more intuitive and useful for Tribal leaders, researchers, and others looking for Tribal health research–related information at NIH. You will find a Tribal health newsfeed featuring information from across the agency in one place and the latest updates about Tribal Consultation, Native-focused programs, training opportunities, and more. THRO’s website and resources will continue to grow, so please bookmark the site and check for updates!

Lecture Recording: Environmental Health Research in Alaska

Quote from Viola “Vi” Waghiyi about her presentation Protecting the Health of Future Generations Through Community-Based Research and Actions

Viola “Vi” Waghiyi and Pamela Miller of the Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT)  discussed their NIH-funded environmental health research in Alaska for NIH’s National Native American Heritage Month annual guest lecture in November 2022. They study exposures, endocrine effects, contaminants, and chemicals in two Yupik communities on St. Lawrence Island. The team aims to inform public health interventions and empower Alaska Natives to address health disparities in their communities. Watch the recording to hear heartfelt and powerful stories about the region, the early days of their research, and working with Alaska Natives to bring traditional and community knowledge to their research.

Webinar Recordings: NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy

Effective January 25, 2023, the new NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy impacts nearly all NIH grant applications. 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 AI/AN communities.

Registration for the 2023 RADx-UP Scientific Meeting is Open

Logo for the RADx-UP® Scientific Meeting

The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx®) initiative was created to speed innovation in the development, commercialization, and implementation of technologies for COVID-19 testing. The annual RADx Underserved Populations (RADx-UP) Scientific Meeting will take place virtually on May 3, 2023, from 1 to 5 p.m. EDT. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Engaging Communities to Advance Health Equity,” and it will include a wealth of data results, insights, and examples of successful community collaboration during the pandemic. Scheduled presentations include updates about the Cherokee Nation Community-Driven Program for Testing and Contact Tracing (Cherokee PROTECT) survey and COVID-19 monitoring methods, building capacity, and Indigenous data sovereignty with a Northern Plains Tribe. RSVP to hear the latest data and findings from 16 RADx-UP project teams.

Tribal Consultations

With an emphasis on trust, respect, and shared responsibility, Tribal Consultation is a formal process for open and free exchange of information. At NIH, it’s a foundational opportunity for our scientific community to listen and learn from Tribal leaders, and respectfully consider the knowledge, priorities, concerns, history, and culture of Tribal Nations prior to developing NIH research priorities, policies, and programs.

Learn more about Tribal Consultation at NIH and read about current and past Consultations.

Funding Opportunities

Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions (RLI-S10)

As part of NIH’s UNITE initiative to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in biomedical research, the funding opportunity (PAR-23-138) for the Instrumentation Grant Program for Resource-Limited Institutions (RLI-S10) aims to enhance research capacity and educational opportunities at resource-limited institutions by providing funds to purchase modern scientific instrumentation. Attend the upcoming May 3 webinar to learn more about the program and process. Application due date: July 3.

Data and Technology Advancement (DATA) National Service Scholar Program

Applications are open for the DATA National Service Scholar Program, hosted by the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy. DATA Scholars are experienced data and computer scientists and engineers looking to tackle challenging biomedical data problems with the potential for substantial public health impact. Being a DATA Scholar requires deep experience in, and knowledge of, data and computer sciences and related fields. The program encourages transformative approaches that lead to increased efficiency, innovative research, tool development, and analytics. Application due date: May 15.

Research With Activities Related to Diversity (ReWARD) Program

The ReWARD Program (PAR-23-122), part of the UNITE initiative, aims to enhance the breadth and geographical location of research and research-related activities supported by NIH. It supports health-related research of scientists who are making a significant contribution to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and who have no current NIH research project grant funding. Learn more about the ReWARD Program. Application due date: June 5.

Interagency Request for Information (RFI) on Food is Medicine Research Opportunities

NIH is pleased to announce the release of an interagency Request for Information (RFI) on Food is Medicine Research Opportunities. THRO was one of the collaborators, along with 15 other NIH institutes, centers, and offices, and 12 federal agencies. Community organizations, groups, and professionals working in nutrition, culinary kitchens, culinary medicine, and nutrition research are invited to provide input on the following topic areas: 1) Research, 2) Community Outreach and Engagement, 3) Education and Training, 4) Provision of Food is Medicine Services and Activities, and 5) Coverage for Services. Responses must be submitted using the RFI submission website by June 30, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Rx pad with writing on it surrounded by colorful fruits and vegetables. Writing says: Request Input on Food is Medicine. Research, Provision of Services/Activities, Coverage for Services, Community Engagement, Training & Education Needs.

Learn More About NIH 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 Training and Internships

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.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Recruitment Fair

Native college or graduate students with an interest in environmental health research: NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is hosting a recruitment fair on Thursday, April 27! Throughout this daylong event, students and prospective trainees will hear about NIEHS positions, learn about the institute’s research, and network with current staff and senior scientists. Join them in person in North Carolina or online.

Student Spotlight With Leah Nez

Photo of Leah Nez, former postbaccalaureate fellow with NIH
Photo credit: Bryan Leavelle

In a Q&A with THRO, Leah Nez discusses her background, experience as a postbaccalaureate fellow with NIH, and path to studying bioethics and gives advice for other students interested in science research and health. Learn more about the Health Disparities in Tribal Communities Summer Internship Program.

Strengthening Communities: Opportunities for Native Youth Webinar Recording

Sponsored by the NIH HEAL Initiative, Strengthening Communities: Opportunities for Native Youth is a pre-recorded, 60-minute webinar that introduces Native teens and young adults to ways they can strengthen their communities through substance use prevention. Viewers can learn about careers in prevention research and practice, community-based prevention and education opportunities, and ways to get involved.

Explore Opportunities!

Research Highlights

Tracking COVID-19 Through Wastewater

Image from Implementing wastewater monitoring on American Indian reservations to assess community health indicators article from the journal Science of The Total Environment, June 1, 2022, issue.
Image courtesy of the journal
Science of The Total Environment

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.

Academic–Community Partnership to Support Workforce Capacity Building Among Arizona Community Health Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing health inequities in communities of color. Community Health Workers/Representatives (CHW/Rs) have played an essential role in COVID-19 prevention and vaccination efforts as trusted frontline health workers in their communities. A new community case study details the findings of focus groups conducted to learn about the work of CHW/Rs and inform future workforce capacity building. Read the recommendations for an effective community-grounded pandemic response.

Helping Scientists Understand Long COVID

After infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, some people experience long-term effects from their infection, known as Long COVID. Participating in research studies helps scientists understand Long COVID and identify better ways to treat it. The Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative hopes to understand who is at risk, why some people recover while others do not, and how to treat this illness. Anyone can volunteer for RECOVER. This includes people with COVID-19 or who have never had COVID-19. It is important that people from all walks of life participate in research so that researchers can better understand how Long COVID affects different people. To do that, the studies need to include people of all races and ethnicities, genders, ages, jobs, education levels, incomes, health conditions, and U.S. locations. Visit the NIH Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Diversity and Inclusion page to learn more.

Featured Health Information

NIH Long COVID Resources

Long COVID can affect people for weeks, months, or even longer after getting COVID-19. They may have difficulty carrying out daily activities because of their symptoms. Long COVID does not affect everyone the same way. CEAL wants everyone to achieve better health through better understanding. Whether you are looking for more information to share with your patients or looking to learn more about Long COVID yourself, CEAL’s resources can provide a better understanding of Long COVID. Fact sheets and a shareable social media toolkit are available in both English and Spanish. Check out CEAL’s resources.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Education and Awareness Programs and Resources

The NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute develops health education and awareness programs to effect positive change in public health. These initiatives focus on implementing national programs to help lower the risk for and consequences of heart, lung, blood, and sleep diseases and disorders.

Your Healthiest Self: Wellness Toolkits

Your relationships, emotions, surroundings, and other aspects of your life impact your overall health. Find ways to improve your well-being with NIH’s wellness toolkits.

Healthy Moments: Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Tune in to the Healthy Moments radio program featuring Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, for one-minute tips on living a healthy lifestyle and preventing or managing chronic diseases. You also can share this information on your own channels and encourage your local radio stations to air episodes free of charge.

Promotional banner that says “Healthy Moments” with a photo of Dr. Griffin Rodgers, director of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases

Free Monthly Consumer Health Newsletter From NIH

Page 1 of April 2023 issue of NIH News in Health

You can request free paper copies of NIH News in Health for your clinics, schools, libraries, and community centers! This monthly research-based newsletter is written in plain language, covers a variety of health topics, and includes lists of helpful health tips for bulletin boards.

Pathways: Magazines, Lessons, Activities, and Videos on Real-World Science Topics for Grades 6–12

Check out Pathways magazine from NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Download free science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teaching guides, lessons, and activities. Pathways is for students in grades 6–12 and is designed to build awareness of basic biomedical science and its importance to health while inspiring careers in research.