The overarching purpose of the Native People for Cancer Control (NPCC) Training Program is to prepare a cadre of post-doctoral level American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) scientists who will work to reduce cancer health disparities in Al/ANs. Research by these scientists will be grounded in a community-based participatory research approach. The ultimate goal is to Increase the number of AI/AN scientists capable of conducting high-quality population research at the interface of cancer, health disparities, and culture. The NPCC Training Program will provide training and mentorship to promising new researchers, as well as to the new and eariy-career investigators who lead the Community Networks Project (CNP) Pilot Projects. We will build on our 5 years of experience with the successful career development program that was a component of CNP 1. That program, in turn, built on the strengths ofthe Native Investigator Development Program (NIDP) The NPCC Training Program will use formal didactic sessions, workshops, mini-courses, regular meetings and mentoring activities to help investigators of AI/AN heritage acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to become Pis on NIH grants. Projects supported by the Program will address cancer health disparities at the individual, family, provider, delivery system, and community levels. Thus, the Specific Aims of the Training Program are to 1) increase the number of Al/ANs able to conduct community-based participatory research pertinent to cancer disparities by augmenting each cohort ofthe NIDP with one additional AI/AN junior faculty member, known as the CNP-Native Investigator;2) initiate and maintain leaming and mentoring relationships between established researchers and junior AI/AN investigators, thus extending NPCC's existing network of well-trained, community-oriented investigators;3) improve the analytic and methodological skills of AI/AN scientists through participation in secondary data analyses (NIDP Training Projects) and enhance their community engagement skills through primary data collection (NIDP Training Projects and CNP Pilot Projects); 4) publish manuscripts based on these Training Projects and 2 CNP Pilot Projects, and use these publications as foundations for grant applications to reduce cancer health disparities. We will also link our activities to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/University of Washington Biobehavioral Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program, and to the training opportunities offered by the University's Surgical Outcomes Research Center. This continuation of our NPCC Training Program focused on AI/AN health inequities will allow us to enhance a remarkably successful program that has already trained 28 Native researchers.
Racial/ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from diseases that can be prevented or controlled. Fortunately, minority investigators are more likely than their White counterparts to focus on diseases and risk factors that most strongly affect minority populations. Equally important, these investigators bring unique insider perspectives and experiences that enhance the potential to understand factors underiying population health disparities.