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Projects: Past and Present



Present IWRI Projects


Capacity Building from the Inside Out: Adapting the CITI Ethics Certification Training Module "Assessing Risks and Benefits" for American Indian Community Researchers

Lead Investigator: Cynthia R. Pearson, PhD

Using participatory research processes, we adapted the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) certified human subjects training module "Assessing risk and benefits". Investigators prepared materials for panel review including mapping the module's core components to the code of federal regulations. Three expert panels (AI community members, scientific and ethicist; n = 11,) adapted the module to meet AI cultural perspectives and concerns. In a two-arm randomized controlled trial, followed by debriefing interviews, we evaluated module acceptability and feasibility (i.e. relevance of materials, self-efficacy/confidence in applying concepts and satisfaction), understandability of module (test scores) among 40 AI reservation-based community members.

To view the table of comparisons between the original and adapted versions of the Assessing Risk and Benefits Module please Click Here.

Sacred Journey: Young Native Women's Wellness Study

Lead Investigator: Cynthia R. Pearson, PhD

This two-year formative descriptive study will provide information in the design of a strength-enhancing culturally-relevant intervention to strengthen protective factors and reduce risk for substance use, ongoing or new traumatic episodes, and HIV/STIs among Native women ages 15 - 24

Community Based Participatory Research with Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU): Alcohol Problems and Solutions

Lead Investigator: Bonnie Duran, Dr.PH

This research project aims to conduct the first study of alcohol related problems at TCU and is the preliminary research needed to develop culturally appropriate and sustainable alcohol interventions at Northwest Indian College (NWIC) and other tribal colleges in the U.S. by using a community-based participatory research approach

Caring for Our Generations: Supporting Native Mothers and Their Families

Lead Investigator: Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD

This project will explore maternal health behaviors, maternal substance use, risk factors for substance use during and after pregnancy, and protective factors that support healthy maternal behaviors. This study proposes five aims: 1) Conduct qualitative formative research with mothers aged 18-55, Native health providers, elder/traditional healers, and Native youth; 2) Conduct survey interviews with community members to establish baseline data related to maternal health outcomes, protective health behaviors, risk factors for substance use during and after pregnancy, and social support for mothers; 3) Develop a culturally-based intervention targeting adult AI mothers in the Northwest; 4) Translate and disseminate the findings to the tribe and prepare translational materials for community members and service providers; and 5) Expand research infrastructure at Lummi Tribal Health Clinic and increase research capacity in the tribal community.  

Supplementary study to the Caring for Our Generations: Supporting Native Mother and Their Families project

Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD

The proposed supplemental study builds upon the parent grant aims to explore factors related specifically to HIV/AIDS and other diseases transmitted sexually and through drug-using behaviors (e.g., Hepatitis-C, HPV) among AI women in the Northwest.

NARCH V - Research for Change: Cross-Site Multi-cultural Community-Based Participatory Research

Lead Investigator: Bonnie Duran, Dr.PH

The causes of health disparities among communities of color and other underserved populations are complex and include social, biological, economic, cultural, and historical factors. A critical step in reducing health disparities among these communities is addressing the mistrust that characterizes community attitudes towards research and to ensure authentic community engagement in improving health. This study will be an in-depth investigation of promoters and barriers to Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) with the goal of improving health status and promoting health equity. Funded through the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH), National Institutes for Health (NIH) and Indian Health Service for 2009-2013, this research project will invite the participation of CBPR projects from all NIH Institutes and Centers to participate in a national study design to strengthen the science of how CBPR partnerships can reduce health disparities.

The Native Youth Enrichment Program

Lead Investigator: Polly Olsen

Director, Polly Olsen, works to develop the Native Youth Enrichment Program. Click here to read more about the program. Program website

The Growing Our Own Project

Lead Investigator: Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD

The overall goals of the Growing Our Own Faculty and Student Development Program are: To bridge pipeline efforts between the only accredited tribal college in the Pacific Northwest and local research-intensive universities to increase the number of American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) in health science career tracks and build Community Based Participator Research capacity; 2) to provide navigation of health science and research career mentorship and professional development for AI/AN graduate students, post-graduate, staff, and faculty; 3) To reduce tribal mistrust of research by creating a bi-directional learning environment that promotes co-development of tribal and university partners to work together to reduce health disparities.

The Healthy Hearts Across Generations Project

Lead Investigator: Karina L. Walters, PhD

The major goals of the study are to (a) conduct a qualitative study to determine Native experiences with food, nutrition, exercise and barriers and facilitators to a CVD prevention program; (b) survey a stratified random sample of 375 adult American Indians from tribal rolls to establish preliminary CVD and CVD-risk prevalence; (c) design a culturally relevant CVD intervention and training materials; (d) conduct a randomized controlled trial of the intervention with 240 at-risk parents; and (e) disseminate findings and prepare translational materials.

Supplementary study to the Healthy Hearts Across Generations project

Selina Mohammed, PhD

Minority Supplement to Healthy Hearts Across Generations. Selina Mohammed’s minority supplement will focus on diabetes and cardiovascular disease tertiary prevention need

The Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training (I-HART) program

Lead Investigator: Karina L. Walters, PhD

The Indigenous HIV/AIDS and Mental Health Research Training (I-HART) institute is being developed to increase the number of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) health researchers to successfully garner major grants for tribal priority health issues. Housed at the University of Washington’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI), the I-HART program will target junior and mid-career AI/AN community/tribal based researchers and AI/AN university-based researchers to hone their competitive grant making skills for mental health and HIV/AIDS research grant acquisition. Working in partnership with tribes, the I-HART program will lay the groundwork for a strong network of highly-trained and grant productive Native scholars dedicated to research and analysis that is culturally and tribally grounded. This would contribute directly to the amelioration of mental health, trauma, and HIV-related health disparities among AI/ANs. I-HART program website.

The University of Washington Native Research Group

IWRI houses the UW Native Research Group (NRG), a community of investigators who participate in research with Indigenous communities. NRG aims to share knowledge, expertise, and scholarship regarding work with indigenous communities, to promote collaboration and to increase Indigenous community research capacity. NRG also works within University systems to decrease research burden on tribal communities and to spark interdisciplinary collaborative research projects. NRG works for the protection of human subjects and the ethical conduct of research with tribal communities.

The International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development (INIHKD)

IWRI is leading a collation of U.S.A. Indigenous partners to convene the International Network of Indigenous Health Knowledge and Development (INIHKD) 2010 biennium conference. INIHKD's mission is to bring a cadre of international Indigenous representative together to create partnerships t5hat will explore the challenges involved in reducing health disparities that exist among Indigenous populations by creating forums that focus on workforce development, research, health services, and policy.



Past IWRI Projects


The Honor Project

Lead Investigator: Karina L. Walters, PhD

The Honor Project was a ground-breaking survey with six nationwide partners looking at the impact of historical trauma, discrimination and other stressors on the health and wellness of Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender and Two-spirited men and women - a historically underserved poplulation. IWRI partnered with Native agencies to ground and contextulize the information gathered through the project. This process was truly a collaborative venture, involving community members at every step of the research process. Community driven research is just one of the many ways that IWRI respects indigenous knowladge, diversity and resillency

Supplementary studies to the Honor Project

Karina L. Walters, PhD
Trauma, Coping, and Health Outcomes Among HIV+ Native Americans

The major goals of this competitive supplement are to: (a) identify preliminary prevalence rates of trauma and violence and health outcomes for HIV+ AIs; (b) examine how cultural and spiritual coping factors moderate the effect of trauma on health outcomes; (c) explore strategies for coping with HIV and potential stigma; (d) identify barriers to HIV/AIDS services; and (e) document adherence to antiretroviral medications, traditional AI health and healing practices for living with HIV, and safer sexual practices post diagnosis.

Karen Fieland, PhD
Spirituality and Health among HIV+ Native Americans

Stress and coping mixed methodological study among HIV+ American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Building on Strengths in Indian Child Welfare Education

Lead Investigator: Tessa Evans-Campbell, PhD

This was a tri-state training grant for Masters-level social work students working with American Indian and Alaska Native families in preparation for post graduate Indian Child Welfare practice.