On November 5, 2009, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum requiring all agencies to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with Tribal officials. Tribal Consultation is an enhanced form of communication that emphasizes trust, respect, and shared responsibility. It is an open and free exchange of information and opinion among parties, which leads to mutual understanding and comprehension. To establish and maintain a positive government-to-government relationship, communication and consultation must occur on an ongoing basis so that Tribes have an opportunity to provide meaningful and timely input on issues that may have a substantial direct effect on them.
The NIH, through the THRO, holds Tribal consultations at least once-per-year, to ensure meaningful and timely input by Indian Tribes in the development of NIH policies that have Tribal implications, as established through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tribal Consultation Policy (TCP). A consultation occurs when HHS, NIH, or an Indian Tribe identifies an NIH action with substantial direct effects for one or more Indian Tribes. Goals of the TCP include eliminating health and human service disparities of Indians and maximizing their access to health and human services.
THRO ensures that the NIH adheres to the TCP and follows the NIH Guidance on the Implementation of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy. Since it’s establishment in 2015, THRO has held yearly tribal consultations for input on NIH initiatives that are of interest to American Indians and Alaskan Natives. Consultations may be held on issues of NIH proposed research projects, priorities and other activities. THRO prepares summaries of each consultation, may solicit public comments, tracks follow-ups, and reports outcomes.
Details and materials from past and ongoing NIH Tribal Consultations can be found in the links in the sidebar.
This page last reviewed on September 24, 2020