Collaborative Minority Health and Health Disparities Research with Tribal Epidemiology Centers (R01 and R21 Clinical Trials Not Allowed)

Program Description

NIMHD is leading a trans-NIH initiative to support collaborative research between Tribal Epidemiology Centers and extramural investigators on topics focused on minority health and health disparities in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. The program invites observational studies or evaluations of interventions that use data collected from Tribal Epidemiology Centers, with an emphasis on areas where there are significant gaps in data and knowledge.

The Tribal Epidemiology Centers program was created by Congress to monitor and improve the health of AI/AN populations. Funded by the Indian Health Service, Tribal Epidemiology Centers collect and analyze data to understand the health of AI/AN communities, develop programs to improve health or prevent disease, and respond to public health emergencies in the regions they serve.

AI/AN populations experience significant health disparities, meaning these groups have poorer outcomes for many health conditions compared with the overall population in the United States. For example, the likelihood of dying before age 75 has decreased in the last 15 years for other U.S. racial/ethnic minorities but is increasing for AI/AN populations. More studies are needed to understand what contributes to this disparity and to find ways to reverse the trend.

AI/AN individuals make up a relatively small fraction of the US population, so national surveys or health studies often do not have enough data on AI/AN populations to identify health disparities in this group. In addition, there are large differences among AI/AN populations, based on tribal affiliation, where they live, and other factors. These differences may be masked when data for the overall AI/AN population are examined. Tribal Epidemiology Centers are well placed to address these gaps in scientific knowledge that can improve understanding of the health of AI/AN populations in their regions.

NIH Guide No.: PAR-17-484 and PAR-17-483