Northwest Indian College Creates Center for Health

Aug 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 22-1: Native Activism, Fall 2010, Tribal College News

In response to the persistent disparities in tribal representation in health research, health education, and health professionals, Northwest Indian College has established the Northwest Indian College Center for Health (NWICCH). The center will pursue multi-faceted educational responses to the long-standing health disparities in tribal communities.

Research at the center will focus on supporting health education and services; developing culturally relevant research, curriculum, and publications; and continued tribal “ownership” of Native research and data.

The foundation of NWICCH’s projects will rest in Community-Based Participatory Research, ensuring all research is rooted in the needs of the communities, engaging communities, and serving communities. The research projects will be conducted with consensus and collaboration of tribal communities. It will be further supported through additional partnerships with the Northwest Washington Indian Health Board and its member tribes.

The NWICCH successfully applied for funding through the Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH). The NARCH Initiative, currently in its seventh year, supports partnerships between tribes and tribally-based organizations and institutions to develop opportunities for conducting research, research training, and faculty development to meet the needs of tribal communities (www.ihs.gov).

Northwest Indian College (NWIC) is located on the Lummi Reservation near Bellingham, WA, and serves the Northwest region. With the successful application to the NARCH, NWIC established partnerships with University of Washington’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, and Center for Genomics and Health Care Equality, as well as Washington State University’s Native American Health Science Program and College of Nursing.

The NARCH grant begins to fund the administrative foundation of NWICCH with approximately $1 million in grant support over the next four years.

The NWICCH is facilitating the following research projects: “Tribal Colleges & Universities: Alcohol & Drug Problems and Solutions,” “Caring for Our Generations: Supporting Native Mothers & Families,” “Pathways to Sobriety,” and “Grow our own.”

NWICCH is also funded by the Indian Health Service, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and National Institute on Drug Abuse in the National Institute of Health. NWICCH staff is currently composed of Director Karyl Jefferson (Lummi), Project Director William Freeman, Project Coordinator Colleen Berg, and assistant Sandy Ludgate (Kiowa/Comanche/Caddo).

For more information, email wfreeman@nwic.edu or karylj@nwic.edu.

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