The Indian Health Service (IHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), both agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services, recently agreed to continue their partnership initiative to include American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AIs/ANs) as participants in and beneficiaries of the research and training supported by the NIH.

Shortly after, the IHS and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), one of the NIH Institutes, announced that they are the recipients of approximately $3 million in grant funds to support AI/AN medical research efforts.

Eight Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) programs have been selected to receive grants for proposals submitted during fiscal year 2001: the Northwest Portland Area Health Board, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona American Indian Research Center for Health, the Five Civilized Tribes, the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the New Mexico Tribal Healthcare Alliance and the California Indian Health Council.

“These grants are critically important in our efforts to improve the health status of [Native Americans],” says HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “These funds will help address the underrepresentation of AI/AN researchers and their perspectives in medical research, and will empower tribes to influence research projects relevant to Indian communities.”

 

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“These funds will increase the capacity of tribes and universities to work in partnership to reverse a trend of Indian communities frequently being the subject of research and not benefiting from that research,” adds Michael H. Trujillo, MD, MPH, MS, director of the IHS. “Additional benefits from the NARCH program will be culturally sensitive research, research influenced and sanctioned by tribal communities, and the encouragement of AI/AN youth to consider research, science and public service as career options.”

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In related news, the IHS recently relocated its headquarters functions to 801 Thompson Avenue in Rockville, Md. after residing at the Parklawn Building in Rockville for the past 31 years. The new IHS headquarters building is newly renovated and contains 50,918 square feet. This headquarters will house all of the Office of the Director functions and most of the programs of the Office of Public Health and the Office of Management Support.

“This building represents a commitment to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the IHS headquarters staff in support of our mission to provide the highest quality health care services to Indian people,” says Trujillo.

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