The overall goal of the proposed COBRE-funded Center for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR) is to achieve a permanent and sustainable research center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with the primary theme of investigating obesity and chronic disease-related risk, control, and prevention among Alaska Natives.
Specific Aim 1. To enhance the biomedical research infrastructure for Alaska Native health research at the University of Alaska. This will be achieved through an increase in the University's commitment to biomedical research with Alaska Natives, additional research opportunities through an expansion of the number of Alaska Native research sites, formation of statewide research partnerships;and strengthening the integrated organizational structure for COBRE II research. Standing cores have been strengthened and functions consolidated;a Nutrition and Physical Activity Core has been added. The cores are aligned with the long-term CANHR research agenda.
Specific Aim 2. Increase the number of investigators at the University of Alaska receiving NIH independent investigator funding for CANHR-related research. This will be achieved by completing four research projects by highly talented new CANHR investigators. Investigators are pursuing research that 1) develops a cultural understanding of the perceptions of weight and diabetes etiology and their relationships to health among Yup'ik Eskimos;2) investigates a methodology of unbiased biomarkers of dietary intake based on variations in food stable isotope ratios and compares those biomarkers to concurrent diet records;3) determines nutrients and contaminants in Yup'ik subsistence food sources;and 4) understands more precisely and measures stressors and coping methods among Yup'ik Eskimos. Each investigation will provide a more differentiated understanding of health disparities of Alaska Natives. They will serve as the basis for applications to NIH and a foundation for prevention, applied, and basic research into Alaska Native health disparities. CANHR will increase capacity and strengthen its mentorship ability by hiring two Associate Professors with a record of success in NIH funding. CANHR contributes to the public health of the Alaskan population by identifying risk and protective factors for chronic diseases among an underserved population. Results have implications for understanding the causes and contributing factors of health disparities of other rural minorities in America and in the circumpolar North. They have the potential for translation into additional research that will develop evidence-based practices for primary and secondary prevention. The COBRE provides a foundation for sustaining a research environment with a mission of utilizing research to influence policy and practices that can reduce health disparities.
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