The objective of the proposed project is to increase the transfer of Native American students from accredited 2-year degree-granting institutions with historically high Native American student enrollments to baccalaureate degree programs in biomedical and behavioral sciences with the ultimate goal to assist these students in attaining their baccalaureate degrees. The program resides at Northern Arizona University (NAU), located in Flagstaff, AZ and is centered on a summer research experience for Native American students from Din College (DC, the first established and one of the largest tribal college in the United States) and Coconino Community College (CCC, a community college located in Flagstaff). During the past five years, the program has supported 42 Native American students; of these 15 students have transferred to NAU or other 4-year institutions with four students earning or 36% of the 42 Bridges students. Our goal in the next funding cycle is to improve this percentage to 75% transfer rates of the students participating in the program. Programmatic modifications are proposed for the next funding cycle guided by the evaluation from the previous cycle. The program combines a summer program for the students to participate in a faculty mentored research experience as well as enrolling in HS299, a three-credit course focused on science communication. Additionally, the program offers workshops throughout the summer on topics ranging from transferring to NAU to resume development to research training grants at NAU. During the academic year, research and professional development is provided to Bridges alumni at CCC and DC. In 2008, NAU and CCC began a transfer program called CCC2NAU which provides a seamless transition for students at CCC to NAU by matriculating in both institutions with shared resources for the students. In February 2016, a memorandum of understanding was signed between NAU and DC to establish the DC2NAU program; the NAU Bridges program played a significant role in the DC2NAU program. Part of NAU?s strategic plan, is to provide a university climate and culture that enhance the academic experiences of Native American students, staff, and faculty including improving the recruitment, retention, and progress of Native American students with the goal of graduating these students with baccalaureate and graduate degrees. An important part of the NAU strategic plan is to expand partnerships with tribal colleges to enhance opportunities for Native American students to continue their education. NAU?s geographic location is ideal for this mission since Flagstaff is considered a border town for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and near the White River Apache and Hualapai Nations. With such a strong commitment to Native American students and an excellent geographic location with respect to a number of tribal lands, the NAU Bridges to Baccalaureate program plays a key role in Arizona in partnering with 2-year institutions with large Native American enrollments.

Public Health Relevance

Bridging Arizona Native American Students to Bachelor?s Degrees, is designed to increase the number of Native American students from federally recognized tribes completing baccalaureate degrees in the biomedical and behavioral sciences at Northern Arizona University by providing a unique transfer program for students originating from Coconino Community College and Din College that is academically sound, highly engaging and seamless. This program will increase the number of Native Americans trained in the area of biomedical and behavioral sciences which are of importance to Native American communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
Program Officer
Brown, Patrick
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northern Arizona University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
Zip Code
Trotter 2nd, Robert T; Laurila, Kelly; Alberts, David et al. (2015) A diagnostic evaluation model for complex research partnerships with community engagement: the partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention (NACP) model. Eval Program Plann 48:10-20
Wilson, Janice; Young, Ashley; Civitello, Edgar R et al. (2014) Analysis of heat-labile sites generated by reactions of depleted uranium and ascorbate in plasmid DNA. J Biol Inorg Chem 19:45-57