3. Research Strategy 3.A. Overall Objectives and Partnership Integration 3.A.1. Overall Objectives General rationale and mutual benefits. The long-term goal of the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention (NACP) is to eliminate cancer disparities in Native Americans of the southwest. Over 10 years we have built relevant research capacity at Northern Arizona University (NAU), especially through the recruitment and support of American Indian faculty, and created a strong effective pipeline for Native American students in cancer-relevant fields. Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized American Indian Nations, and more than 5% of Arizona's residents are American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN). Health disparities affecting Tribal communities are therefore key as the state wrestles with healthcare delivery and equity. The University of Arizona (including the UA Cancer Center) and NAU are both part of the Arizona university system;missions and activities of the two institutions differ in deliberate ways. The U54 unites our comprehensive cancer center and an undergraduate-focused institution to serve Arizona's diverse population. By partnering in the U54, we maximize the leveraging of our resources and efforts, therefore having a greater Impact on the Tribal communities of Arizona. As an institution, NAU is more focused on undergraduates, with fewer doctoral programs and more narrowly targeted areas of research expertise. Historically the institution has placed great emphasis on (and had significant success with) serving AIAN students. The mutual benefits and synergies of NACP come from sharing the unique expertise of each institution. NAU has put into place a wide array of student success initiatives, transition programs to assist first-generation and other students in adjusting to college, undergraduate research and engagement opportunities, and multi-cultural and Native American student services. The university's smaller class sizes and instructional emphasis, a vibrant Native American Cultural Center, a substantial number of Native American faculty members, and proximity to some rural reservation communities are all strengths that NAU contributes to NACP and especially to the training and outreach efforts. NAU was recognized in the 2013 annual report of Diverse Issues in Higher Education as 8* in the nation for baccalaureate degrees earned by Native American students;the university placed in the top 10 nationally for AIAN students graduating in 15 different fields from Physical Sciences (2""^) to Education, Psychology, Engineering, Finance, and Biology. Also, NAU ranked second in the nation for producing Native American baccalaureate graduates who went on to receive doctorates in science and engineering, 2006 - 2010 (Table 7-12, NSF National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, Survey of Earned Doctorates). NACP builds on this foundation of effective work with AIAN students in STEM and in health-related fields. Meanwhile, UACC offers a large population of researchers with deep and diverse cancer expertise;master's, doctoral and postdoctoral training opportunities;many more specialized research facilities, and senior level, cancer focused scientists for proper mentoring and specialized resources with a very strong focus on cancer prevention and control and health disparities research interests. It is the only one of the 41 NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers with a Board of Regents approved Cancer Health Disparities Institute, within the larger Center, now directed by Francine Gachupin, PhD. (Jemez Pueblo). Our two institutions have built and will continue highly effective collaboration through NACP. We will strengthen our pipeline for students from initial university or community college contact through postdoctoral and professional education and training. NACP will continue sharing expertise and collaborating in the relationships that we have formed with specific Tribal nations and communities, and will adhere to the Tribal Consultation Policy being created through the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR). NACP activities with Tribes over the past 10 years have built a working relationship that prepares us to implement relevant community-based participatory research projects. Finally, we will continue making effective use of shared resources such that researchers and trainees across institutions have access to them (e.g., UACC core services in informatics, mouse models, genomics, proteomics, imaging;NAU environmental analysis, evaluation expertise, genomics).
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