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Grant Details

Grant Number: 5S06GM142131-02 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Phillips, John
Organization: American Indian Higher Education Consrtm
Project Title: American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Building Indigenous Research Capacity in Health (BIRCH) Project
Fiscal Year: 2023


AIHEC BIRCH Overall Core Project/Narrative The vision of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s (AIHEC) “Building Indigenous Research Capacity in Health” (BIRCH) project is sovereign Tribal Nations asserting full ownership, direction, and control of the health research needed to help their people grow healthy and strong. Implementing new programs in the 37 TCUs across the country, AIHEC will provide additional resources for American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students to pursue coursework and careers that will enable them to act as healthcare providers and researchers. This project provides a comprehensive approach to growing a networked community of AIAN and non-Native researchers, educators, and community practitioners to implement traditional knowledge practices in addressing AIAN health issues and continuously improve Native health and health research practices and outcomes. The lack of tribal healthcare researchers and providers perpetuates health disparities and a lack of equity in tribal communities. Furthermore, studies show that communities with tribal healthcare providers and researchers have a higher treatment adherence and fewer mortalities or serious illnesses. Promoting the advancement of AIAN students will not only benefit the students. Still, it will also lead to healthier tribal communities, increased compliance with healthcare visits and interventions, participation in clinical trials, and a reduction in the primary causes of illness and mortality such as diabetes, substance use disorders, injuries, homicide, and suicide. The long-term goals of the project are: To expand a community of Indigenous research practice in health/health sciences at the nation’s TCUs; to establish TCUs as essential tribally-centered components of the national health sciences research and education infrastructure; to improve the quality of health services provided to AIANs using a science-based empirical approach to intervention development and evaluation that is relevant to Native peoples and communities and based on core tribal values, cultures, and traditions; to expand the TCU component of the health research and education career pipeline to recruit, support, and provide critical linkages for AIAN students to pursue health careers; to empower tribes and tribal communities to develop and control their research agenda and connect that research to tribal values and needs, and to promote the integration of Indigenous knowledge and Western knowledge.



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