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National Native Health Research Training (NNHRT) Conference


The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), and the Native Research Network are pleased to announce the 2nd annual National Native Health Research Training (NNHRT) Conference sponsored by the Indian Health Service (IHS).

Indigenous Research: Native Approaches to Sustainable Health

When: August 8-10, 2018 
Where: Mystic Lake Center
2400 Mystic Lake Blvd NW, Prior Lake, MN 55372

Conference Objectives:

  • Increase opportunities for AI/AN scientists and health professionals to share knowledge gained from health sciences research with AI/AN students and other scientists and health professionals.
  • Increase the dissemination and use of biomedical, clinical, behavioral, and health science research findings to address the health needs of AI/AN communities.
  • Enhance Tribal-academic collaborations and improve the ability of Tribes to better understand research findings, particularly related to the physical, biological, genetic, behavioral, psychological, cultural, and social implications of research.
  • Increase the effective use of Traditional Medicine, Indigenous Knowledge, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge/Environmental Health to enhance protective factors/effects and to improve health outcomes among AI/ANs.

Conference Tracks

Behavioral Health (BH): Sessions within the BH Track seek to address the mental and behavioral health issues by sharing research impacting Native communities that demonstrate potential for effective and innovative interventions and innovative approaches to health care and community settings. Specific topics may include:

  • Care for individuals with serious mental illness and with substance use disorders;
  • Building quality improvement capability among mental/behavioral health providers and organizations;
  • Innovative approaches to mental/behavioral health care in low-resource settings;
  • Intervention for individuals with traumatic exposures and adverse childhood events;
  • Innovative behavioral health outreach to Tribal College and University students; and,
  • Effective interventions to address Native men’s mental and behavioral health.

Biomedical and Health Systems Research (BHSR): Sessions within the BHSR track will highlight new advances in biomedical and health systems research in improving primary healthcare delivery, as well as innovative approaches in research that incorporate traditional AI/AN methodologies. The session will explore, among other questions: How are AI/AN researchers using traditional and cultural-based knowledge to break new ground in biomedical and health systems research? How can Western biomedical research models be informed by Traditional Knowledge? How are approaches to AI/AN research changing in response to community inclusion and consultation? What are good models for collaboration between Tribal and non-Tribal community-based health care providers that promote access to services, continuity of care, or public health? What is the future of biomedical and health systems research in AI/AN communities?

Traditional Medicine: This session will focus on the value of Traditional Medicine in promoting AI/AN health. The session will explore: What are successful models of Traditional Medicine-based or related treatment? What challenges do researchers face today when evaluating the effects of Traditional Medicine in practice? How are these challenges being met? How are Traditional Medicine models changing? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different models? Are certain Traditional Medicine practices associated with certain outcomes? How will this information enhance Tribal-academic collaborations and improve the ability of Tribes to use research findings?

Traditional Ecological Knowledge/ Environmental Health (TEK/EH): Sessions within the TEK/EH track will explore the intersection and interactions between TEK and EH research. Talks will focus on the value of TEK to complement and expand upon Western scientific methods and will touch upon the potential for successes as well as the challenges of applying different but potentially complementary knowledge systems. Presentations will highlight the importance of raising awareness about culturally appropriate approaches among environmental health scientists working collaboratively with Tribal nations. The sessions will also include discussion of intergenerational learning, and the training and skills to increase Tribal community engagement in research using case examples of successful Tribal-academic partnerships. The session will consider questions such as: How is TEK being applied in contemporary research contexts to address pressing environmental concerns? How can TEK inform EH research, and vice versa? How can TEK be used in ecological management and policy development? What is being done to prepare AI/AN tribal college students, scientists, and health professionals to incorporate both TEK and current EH research methodologies in AI/AN health studies?

About the National Native Health Research Training Initiative 

In 2017, the Indian Health Service (IHS) launched the National Native Health Research Training Initiative (NNHRTI) to promote Tribally-driven research activity through educational and training opportunities, including the first of five annual conferences that will build capacity and disseminate new and best practices for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) health research. The 5-year initiative and each of the five annual conferences are sponsored by the IHS and hosted by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), and the Native Research Network (NRN).

Conference Hosts

American Indian Higher Education Consortium

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) is the collective spirit and unifying voice of our nation's Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). AIHEC provides leadership and influences public policy on American Indian higher education issues through advocacy, research, and program initiatives; promotes and strengthens Indigenous languages, cultures, communities, and tribal nations; and through its unique position, serves member institutions and emerging TCUs.

In 1973, the first six American Indian tribally controlled colleges established AIHEC to provide a support network as they worked to influence federal policies on American Indian higher education. Today, AIHEC has grown to 37 TCUs in the United States. 

American Indian Science and Engineering Society 

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national, nonprofit organization focused on substantially increasing the representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations and other indigenous peoples of North America in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies and careers.

Founded in 1977, with a rapidly expanding membership of more than 4,000 individual members, AISES sustains 189 chartered college and university chapters, 15 professional chapters, and 158 affiliated K-12 schools supporting American Indian students in the critically needed STEM disciplines. 

Native Research Network, Inc.

Established in 1997, The Native Research Network, Inc. (NRN) is a leadership community of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Canadian First Nations promoting integrity and excellence in research.

NRN advocates for high quality research that is collaborative, supportive, and builds capacity. NRN promotes an environment for research that operates on the principles of integrity, respect, trust, ethics, cooperation, and open communication in multi-disciplinary fields