There are 5.4 million individuals who self-identify as American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) in the US, and there are 567 federally registered tribes. While characterized by many strengths and resiliencies, as a whole, AI/AN populations experience significant disparities compared to the general population across a range of health conditions and outcomes, including infant mortality, alcohol-related mortality, substance abuse, unintentional injury, homicide, suicide, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, obesity, chronic kidney disease, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, selected cancers, and other chronic diseases. Premature death rates, while decreasing in other US racial/ethnic minority populations over the past 15 years, are increasing among AI/AN populations. However, the examination of data on AI/AN populations in aggregate may obscure the significant heterogeneity within the AI/AN population due to tribal affiliation, geographic region, and other factors. For example, gastric cancers affect AI/AN populations in different parts of the country at different rates ranging from 6.1/100,00 in the Eastern US to 24.5/100,000 in Alaska. At the same time, national survey and epidemiological studies often do not report data on AI/AN populations because the numbers are too small or AI/AN individuals are folded into the highly heterogeneous “Other” category, thus not available to interpret any health outcomes specific for AI/AN populations. For these reasons, there is a critical need to build a more comprehensive evidence base regarding the health of AI/AN populations.
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will support collaborative research between Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TEC) and other investigators on topics related to minority health and health disparities in AI/AN populations, with emphasis on areas where there are significant gaps in data and knowledge. Such partnerships are proposed to support community-responsive, scientifically rigorous projects with findings disseminated to local stakeholders, the Indian Health Service (IHS), and the scientific community. One or more TECs may collaborate with academic researchers, tribal governments or other tribal organizations, clinicians, healthcare organizations, public health organizations, school systems, faith-based organizations, or other relevant stakeholders to achieve FOA objectives.
Research projects may be observational or intervention studies and are expected to use data that have been or are currently being collected by the TEC(s). Primary data collection may be used to supplement existing data. Research study samples may consist exclusively of AI/AN populations or may include non-AI/AN populations as appropriate to address a specific research question. Appropriate pooling or comparison of health-related data across multiple TECs is strongly encouraged, as are projects that link multiple types of data sources (e.g., IHS, BRFSS, Census, Vital Statistics, health care systems, and administrative data on health-related social determinants.). Projects that do not involve using TEC-generated or TEC-compiled data or public health interventions implemented and/or evaluated by the TEC are not targeted for support under this FOA.
Applications are due December 4, 2019.