Announcement of Requirements and Registration for
“Storytelling about Health and Wellness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities” Challenge

SUMMARY:  In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, the Tribal Health Research Office in announces the “Storytelling about Health and Wellness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities” Challenge.  The goal of this Challenge is to develop a brief digital story (i.e., a video) that communicates how traditions and heritage promote health in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN).

DATES: The Challenge begins November 28, 2016.
Submission Period: November 28, 2016 to January 31, 2017
Judging Period:  February 1, 2017 to February 24, 2017
Winners announced: Week of March 6, 2017

View the winners!

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Please contact NIH’s Tribal Health Research Office at or 301-402-9852 with questions about this challenge.

To commemorate Native American Heritage Month, the NIH wishes to celebrate the use of storytelling to convey stories of health and wellness.  The AI/AN population has long experienced a disparity in certain health conditions compared with other Americans. AI/AN communities have higher rates of diseases and disorders across several areas of health such as: diabetes, chronic liver disease, certain cancers, mental health, and substance use ( and  Factors known to contribute to health status and disparities are complex, and include social and historical factors, ethnicity, culture, historical trauma, socioeconomic status, gender/sex, age, geographical access to care, and levels of insurance as well as underlying biology, physiology, and genetics.  The NIH hopes that this Challenge will incentivize the public to showcase the strengths and resilience of these communities, their heritage and traditions, and how their culture promotes their health and well-being.

The NIH invites the public to participate in this challenge to share stories about: 1) how heritage and tradition leads to health and wellness in AI/AN communities; and 2) how future research can improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.  The videos will augment the agency’s ongoing efforts to inform a strengthened research portfolio that advances AI/AN research needs. This challenge is also designed to attract more interest and attention to the research needs of these communities and communicate these needs in a culturally appropriate manner. Eligibility rules for participating in this challenge are posted in the Federal Register .

Registration and Submission Process for Participants:  To register and submit an entry for this Challenge, visit The Storytelling about Wellness in Tribal Communities.

The submission is a video that describes: 1) how heritage and tradition leads to health and wellness in AI/AN communities; and 2) how future research can improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Submissions are limited to a video that may not exceed five minutes.  Winning entries may be posted on the NIH web site.  Submissions must be substantially free of scientific jargon and understandable by viewers without scientific/technical backgrounds. The video must include at least one member of a federally recognized tribe(s) and address the following:

  • A brief historical background that puts the story in context.  For example, what is the traditional or cultural practice? How does it contribute to health and wellness in AI/AN populations?
  • A description of how this tradition or culture affects people’s lives.  The impact could be lives saved, suffering reduced, fewer visits to health care facilities, adopting a healthier lifestyle, and similar such benefits.  How is this practice promoted within tribal populations?
  • Information about the unmet health and wellness needs of AI/AN communities.  What is the unmet need?  Is there an understanding of what interventions or actions may help address these needs?
  • A discussion of how biomedical or behavioral research can further Tribal health and wellness.  What are the current gaps in Tribal health research and opportunities for improving health in AI/AN communities?  What are some of the barriers or challenges in closing these gaps?  How would addressing them reduce mortality, improve quality of life, or otherwise positively affect Tribal communities?  The video must convey the research question of interest as part of a holistic picture of Tribal health or AI/AN communities.

Amount of the Prize:  The first place winner will receive $4,000; second place will receive $3,000; third place will receive $2,000; and two honorable mentions will each receive $500.  The first place winner will also be invited to an upcoming meeting of the NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee.  Travel will be reimbursed for those invitees.

Basis Upon Which Submissions Will be Evaluated:  This section describes judging criteria and the evaluation process. Submissions first will be assessed by a technical evaluation panel consisting of individuals who will review the relevance of the entry to the AI/AN communities, the accuracy of the advance and impact on AI/ANs, cultural sensitivity, and confirmation of the unmet research need(s) in AI/AN populations.  The technical evaluation panel will forward its assessment of each submission to a qualified judging panel composed of NIH program directors and other federal employees involved in AI/AN research.  The judging panel will evaluate all submissions and recommend winners based on the assessments from the technical evaluation panel and the following judging criteria:

  • Quality, clarity, and historical accuracy.  Is the information presented accurately and clearly?
  • Impact.  Is the story educational, inspiring, and persuasive?  Does it clearly convey how the culture or tradition being practiced promotes health and wellness? Does it clearly convey where research could continue to improve health and well-being?
  • Originality.  The Challenge submission cannot have been previously published.
  • Digital technology.  Does the video effectively use lighting, sound, and editing to tell the story?  Is the dialogue clear and easy to understand?  Do visual effects (if any) contribute to the message or detract from it? Does the video convey the intended message in the five minute limit?  Is the video of sufficient quality to be posted on the Web? Is captioning or English translation available?     

[FR Doc. 2016-28497 Filed 11-25-16; 8:45 am]