In this application, Washington State University (WSU) and the University of Washington (UW) seek support for a Center of Excellence to establish a Behavioral Health Collaborative in Rural American Indian Communities (BHCRAIC).
Our aim i s to directly contribute to improved mental health and reduced substance abuse in rural American Indian (Al) communities through scientifically rigorous and culturally accurate development and dissemination of prevention and intervention strategies. This work will improve quality of life for rural Al populations, which experience dramatic behavioral health inequities. Although health and life expectancy in Al communities have improved over time, much work remains. Our BHCRAIC will work towards eliminating the gaps identified in these seminal publications. Our research agenda articulates a model for Al health and health disparities that is well-grounded in current theory and applicable to all our proposed Research Projects. Our investigations reiterate a single leitmotif - the examination of multiple influences on behavioral health at multiple levels and across the lifespan. While this perspective is undoubtedly broad, we firmly believe that it ensures the maximum likelihood that we will affect the day-to-day lives of suffering human beings. Our projects include children, youth, and adults, and truly represent the communities with which we partner, with American Indians serving in key roles. As a result, all proposed projects will have deep and meaningful ties to their respective communities. Investigators are more fully invested in the communities with which they work, and their commitment goes a long way to ensuring reciprocity and respect among all parties involved in the research. The BHCRAIC will pursue an integrated, multi-faceted research program that capitalizes on several large, well-organized, existing efforts. This Collaborative will benefit fro numerous new and well-established, mutually respectful relationships in addressing issues deemed important in behavioral health. Sound scientific approaches are linked with a community-based participatory perspective to create a transdisciplinary research program of the highest caliber for rural Al community members, patients, clinicians, researchers, and health policymakers.
This application seeks support to establish a Center of Excellence (COE) designed to help close the gap of health disparities that exist in Al communities. Specifically, this COE will conduct research to address existing health disparities in the areas of mental health and substance use disorders across the lifespan.