American Indians (AI) have the largest prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the nation with double the prevalence compared to non-AIs. Programs developed and implemented in the general population to prevent CVD may not be appropriate or effective for AI populations due to unique environmental barriers and cultural differences. The PI, a member of the Cherokee nation, proposes a career development plan and research to facilitate her development into a leader in interventions to prevent CVD and other negative health outcomes among American Indians. The first specific aim is to adapt an existing Cherokee program to maximize reach to more Cherokee Nation citizens and address primary prevention of CVD in Cherokee Nation (CN) adults.
The second aim i s to conduct a pilot study to demonstrate acceptability and feasibility of the adapted intervention.
The third aim i s to complete a rigorous career development plan including mentoring plans, training plans, and pertinent coursework. The community-based participatory research project is centered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma with the Cherokee Nation and built on a three-year research relationship between the tribe and the PI. Over this time, the PI has worked with this community to evaluate a current Cherokee-created program, Remember the Removal, that aims to improve the health and well-being of select young adult citizens through programs that teach Cherokee culture, language and history along with improving diet and exercise. The new program, Journey of Cherokees, to be developed with community participation, will build on the prior program?s foundation but include expanded enrollment capacity, a larger age range, and flexible physical activity programs. The goal of the proposed project is to advance the science of community-partnered generation of culturally specific health interventions by promoting the power of cultural learning and cultural revitalization. The proposed research and career development plan will position the PI to obtain R01 funding within the 5-year study period, and to become a nationally recognized leader in innovative lifestyle interventions for preventing CVD and other negative health outcomes among AIs.

Public Health Relevance

American Indians suffer from the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in the nation and efforts to address cardiovascular disease prevention amongst American Indians are few and less effective compared to the general population. The goal of this project is to partner with the Cherokee Nation to co-create an intervention to prevent cardiovascular disease based on over 30 years of successful interventions that facilitate Cherokee-specific cultural learning. Results from this project will lead to potentially new methods to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease using an indigenous and community informed perspective.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1)
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Campo, Rebecca A
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University of Missouri-Columbia
Family Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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