The UW's Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) has successfully pursued its mission to address American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) health and eliminate health disparities by developing a trans-disciplinary research infrastructure, cultivating extensive partnerships with leading national and international tribal communities and organizations, and securing $14 million in research and training awards over its initial five years. The UW and School of Social Work have provided fertile ground for IWRI development and have pledged considerable additional institutional and administrative support. This application, in response to RFA-MD-11-003 """"""""NIMHD Comprehensive Centers of Excellence (P60)"""""""" is designed to develop IWRI as a National Comprehensive Center of Excellence (COE) devoted to AIAN health and health disparities research and to develop a cadre of NIH-funded AIAN behavioral scientists. It provides an excellent opportunity for IWRI to consolidate its burgeoning infrastructure and strengthen existing partners into a vibrant, synergistic, collaborative whole. IWRI's thematic focus is on behaviorally rooted health conditions that disproportionately affect AIANS (e.g., cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and mental illness) and is grounded in the theoretical and empirical work of IWRI's eminent leaders, who have been awarded numerous NIH grants on AIAN health-related projects over the last two decades and, along with the extensive network of IWRI investigators and community partners, have been at the forefront of AIAN behavioral research. Their innovative work emphasizes the importance of historical context in addressing AIAN health needs, as well as the co-occurring factors of violence, substance use, and psychological distress that affect health. These risk factors are conceptualized in the Director's ground-breaking Indigenist Stress-Coping Model, which will be used to guide curriculum and program development. Consistent with the four main objectives of NIMHD Centers, the proposed aims of IWRI are to Improve AIAN health and eliminate health disparities by: (1) developing an integrated, comprehensive, and centralized trans-disciplinary research infrastructure that builds on the successes of IWRI's research, training activities, and community capacity building;(2) cultivating existing and establishing novel partnerships with AIAN tribal communities and other organizations to facilitate truly collaborative research;(3) developing new and enhancing existing research training activities at IWRI that prepare researchers to conduct scientifically rigorous and culturally grounded health research;and (4) strengthening and consolidating AIAN engagement, outreach and institutional partnerships.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMD1-RN (02))
Program Officer
Castille, Dorothy M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Washington
Schools of Social Work
United States
Zip Code
Schultz, Katie; Walters, Karina L; Beltran, Ramona et al. (2016) ""I'm stronger than I thought"": Native women reconnecting to body, health, and place. Health Place 40:21-8
Smartlowit-Briggs, Lucy; Pearson, Cynthia; Whitefoot, Patricia et al. (2016) Community-Based Assessment to Inform a Chlamydia Screening Program for Women in a Rural American Indian Community. Sex Transm Dis 43:390-5
Walters, Karina L; Simoni, Jane M; Evans-Campbell, Teresa Tessa et al. (2016) Mentoring the Mentors of Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Minorities Who are Conducting HIV Research: Beyond Cultural Competency. AIDS Behav 20 Suppl 2:288-93
Walls, Melissa; Pearson, Cynthia; Kading, Margarette et al. (2016) Psychological Wellbeing in the Face of Adversity among American Indians: Preliminary Evidence of a New Population Health Paradox? Ann Public Health Res 3:
Ross, Raven E; Garfield, Lauren D; Brown, Derek S et al. (2015) The Affordable Care Act and Implications for Health Care Services for American Indian and Alaska Native Individuals. J Health Care Poor Underserved 26:1081-8
Pearson, Cynthia R; Kaysen, Debra; Belcourt, Annie et al. (2015) Post-traumatic stress disorder and HIV risk behaviors among rural American Indian/Alaska Native women. Am Indian Alsk Native Ment Health Res 22:1-20
Johnson-Jennings, Michelle D; Belcourt, Annie; Town, Matthew et al. (2014) Racial discrimination's influence on smoking rates among American Indian Alaska Native two-spirit individuals: does pain play a role? J Health Care Poor Underserved 25:1667-78
Yuan, Nicole P; Duran, Bonnie M; Walters, Karina L et al. (2014) Alcohol misuse and associations with childhood maltreatment and out-of-home placement among urban two-spirit American Indian and Alaska Native people. Int J Environ Res Public Health 11:10461-79
Pantalone, David W; Huh, David; Nelson, Kimberly M et al. (2014) Prospective predictors of unprotected anal intercourse among HIV-seropositive men who have sex with men initiating antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Behav 18:78-87
Pearson, Cynthia R; Parker, Myra; Fisher, Celia B et al. (2014) Capacity building from the inside out: development and evaluation of a CITI ethics certification training module for American Indian and Alaska Native community researchers. J Empir Res Hum Res Ethics 9:46-57

Showing the most recent 10 out of 16 publications