American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities shoulder heavy burdens in health disparities. While health promotion programs have been implemented in AI/AN communities, evidence-based behavioral science translational research is rare. Time, monetary and resource costs, a history of mistrust, and a lack of well prepared researchers to work in tribal communities are recognized challenges to research within these groups. Infrastructures to support academic and tribal partnerships in research are needed to build tribal capacity and prepare nurses and other health researchers to collaborate with tribes in translational research. The goal of this project is to establish a partnership infrastructure between an academic health center (the UW School of Nursing) and two rural tribes (Suquamish and Port Gamble S'Klallam) to enhance tribal capacity to engage in behavioral science translational research. The program will draw upon social learning theory and employ a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to assist the tribe in conceptualizing, planning, and submitting evidenced-based translational research grants for their communities. The work will be conducted in three phases. In phase one, an advisory committee comprised of tribal leaders, community representatives, and academic scholars will be established, and the Community Research Associate (CRA) in each tribe will establish planning teams within each tribe to assess needs for research and training. Using a CBPR process, these groups will identify tribal priorities for research in areas including (but not limited to): cancer screening and prevention, mental health, and/or promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles in older adults. In phase two, tribal members, students, nursing faculty, and experts from the UW will collaborate in a research training and mentoring program that provides both formal instruction and hands-on assistance in all steps of preparing a research proposal. In phase three, this trained cadre of tribal members, students and academic faculty will support the tribes to develop and submit at least one to two small grants and one R01 to address identified needs. Evaluation of this program includes both process and outcome measures based on stated program objectives. Findings will advance the science and understanding of CBPR as an approach in infrastructure building, make valuable contributions to reducing health disparities for these underserved communities, and provide a much need academic/tribal model of collaboration in translational research. Sustainability will be facilitated by: 1) development of an infrastructure and policies within the tribes and the University of Washington School of Nursing that are linked to existing structures;2) establishment of linkages to community agencies and other schools and departments within the University;3) documented training modules;and 4) web based technology linkages of the tribes to the University of Washington School of Nursing and research funding sources.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal addresses an issue of significant public health interest - reducing health disparities in American Indian communities. We propose to establish an infrastructure for a collaborative research partnership between an academic health center (UW School of Nursing) and tribal communities (Suquamish and Pt. Gamble S'Klallam) to build tribal capacity to conduct translational health sciences research, and to offer opportunities for nurses and other health researchers to collaborate with these communities. The ultimate goal of this project is to build capacity for conducting research to increase the availability of culturally appropriate, state-of-the-art, evidence based health care to these underserved communities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)
High Impact Research and Research Infrastructure Programs—Multi-Yr Funding (RC4)
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Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-S (58))
Program Officer
Cotton, Paul
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University of Washington
Other Health Professions
Schools of Nursing
United States
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Strickland, C June; Logsdon, Rebecca G; Hoffman, Barbara et al. (2014) Developing an academic and American Indian tribal partnership in education: a model of community health nursing clinical education. Nurse Educ 39:188-92