November 1, 2018
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November Is National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month


Historically, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities have been disproportionately affected by many health issues such as heart disease, cancer, substance abuse and sudden infant death syndrome. As the largest biomedical research agency in the world, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to honoring the health of Native communities by conducting initiatives that aim to advance research and expand the reach of health information relevant to them.

The NIH recognizes that to reach these goals, we must collaborate with Tribal Nations to improve programs and policies and also ensure diversity and inclusion not only in research, but also in our workforce. The NIH’s Tribal Health Research Office and Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s Native American Portfolio are shining examples of ongoing efforts.

In this special NIH-wide collaborative issue of Honoring Health, you will find a sample of the health resources available from many of our Institutes, Centers and Offices that can be used to promote healthier Native communities.

Featured Health Information

Your Healthiest Self cover

Your Healthiest Self: Wellness Toolkits is an innovative portal that highlights the NIH’s health and wellness resources for the public. These toolkits help people learn about simple things they can do to improve their surroundings, relationships, emotional well-being and physical health. The portal also links to dozens of resources, fact sheets and articles from across the NIH for a wealth of information.

NIH News in Health

NIH News in Health, one of the NIH’s most widely distributed consumer health publications, now offers two special issues, focused on Healthy Parenting and Senior Health. These collections of popular stories from past issues, including topics such as positive parenting and coping with caregiving, have been reviewed and updated. You can read them online, download PDF versions for printing or request a limited number of print copies to share with your community.


The Community Outreach Initiative website from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) connects health care providers and community organizers with free resources about bones, joints, muscles and skin as they plan outreach efforts and community events. The information on this website has been organized to make it easier for visitors to find the resources they need to educate patients and community members about bone, joint, muscle and skin health.

a women in winter coat is a suite of digital smoking cessation resources offered by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The site contains tools to help people such as pregnant women, teens, veterans and others to plan and execute a successful quit. The site also offers free support via a text messaging program that gives encouragement, and tips to help quitters gain confidence, stay motivated and overcome challenges.

Oral Health and Aging

Oral Health & Aging: Information for Caregivers is a new series of fact sheets designed to provide caregivers with the information they need to assist older adults with oral hygiene. There are four fact sheets in the series: Brushing, Flossing, Dry Mouth, and Finding Low-Cost Dental Care. These new resources were developed by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in partnership with other organizations within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Palliative Care

The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) recently updated its brochure, Palliative Care: The Relief You Need When You Have a Serious Illness [PDF – 1.4MB]. The revised brochure provides patients who have serious illnesses and their families with clear, evidence-based information about what palliative care is, who it benefits and how it works. To order free print copies, call 301-496-0207 or email

Collaborative Research Center cover

The Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health Toolkit provides guidance for starting Tribal Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). This toolkit, supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), is intended to serve as a resource for American Indian Tribal Nations or other Indigenous Nations developing IRBs for the ethical review and monitoring of research on tribal land.

Native CARS

The Native CARS (Children Always Ride Safe) Partnership: A Journey Toward Improving Child Passenger Safety is a community-based participatory research intervention study that works toward increasing child safety seat use by AI/AN children.

Tribal Health Research Office

The Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) was created in recognition of the importance of ensuring meaningful input from and collaboration with Tribal Nations on NIH programs and policies. THRO functions include coordinating tribal health research-related activities across the NIH, organizing and supporting the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee, working with NIH Institutes and Centers to leverage resources or develop initiatives to support tribal health research and convening NIH-wide committees, workshops, meetings and other activities related to tribal health research and scientific priorities.

News & Events

Healthy Native Babies

Healthy Native Babies Project Celebrates 15th Anniversary

Data show that sudden unexpected infant deaths are disproportionately higher in AI/AN communities.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) launched the Healthy Native Babies Project (HNBP) in 2003 with help from representatives from tribes in the Northern Tier and others who serve AI/AN audiences. The HNBP aims to assist local programs in addressing safe infant sleep in their communities. The approach is focused on culturally appropriate outreach using community-tailored resources, resource stipends, training sessions and technical assistance.

As the HNBP enters its 15th year, the NICHD and its partners are reexamining the approach and the resources to better meet the changing needs of AI/AN communities. View, download or order materials developed for the HNBP.

Funding Opportunities

NIH Funding Opportunity for the Undergraduate Research Initiative for Student Enhancement
Notice Number: NOT-GM-18-030

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) intends to publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for the Undergraduate Research Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) program.

The U-RISE program will employ the T34 mechanism for the support of undergraduate trainees from diverse backgrounds, including those from underrepresented groups in biomedical research. The U-RISE T34 funding announcement will encourage applications from training programs at research-active institutions (i.e., those with a 3-year average of NIH research project grant funding below $7.5 million).

Health Disparities and Alzheimer's Disease (R01)
Notice Number: PAR-15-349

This FOA invites applications proposing to study health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Health disparities research related to Alzheimer’s disease should include the study of biological, behavioral, sociocultural and environmental factors that influence population-level health differences.

Emerging Directions for Addressing Health Disparities in Alzheimer's Disease (R03)
Notice Number: PAR-15-350

This smaller R03 grant is designed for applicants seeking to complete limited projects, such as pilot or feasibility studies. The focus of the program announcement is the study of health disparities and Alzheimer’s disease.