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TLC Programs NARCH


The Indian Health Service (IHS) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health have a joint partnership supporting the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH). The NARCH initiative, currently in its seventh year, supports partnerships between AI/AN Tribes or Tribally-based organizations and institutions that conduct intensive academic-level biomedical, behavioral and health services research. This funding mechanism develops opportunities for conducting research, research training and faculty development to meet the needs of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. As a developmental process, Tribes and Tribal Organizations are able to build a research infrastructure, including a core component for capacity building and the possibility of reducing the many health disparities so prevalent in AI/AN communities.

Each NARCH applicant’s grant undergoes the rigorous peer review process established by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR); NIH/CSR priority scores determine those research projects with the best science, as well as the best designs and strategies to meet the objectives of the NARCH program.

Specifically, the purposes of the NARCH initiative are:

  • to develop a cadre of AI/AN scientists and health professionals engaged in biomedical, clinical, behavioral and health services research who will be competitive in securing NIH and AHRQ funding;
  • to increase the capacity of both research-intensive institutions and AI/AN organizations to work in partnership to reduce distrust by AI/AN communities and people toward research;
  • to encourage competitive research linked to the health priorities of the AI/AN organizations and to reducing health disparities.

Additional benefits include:

  • local and regional professional and administrative employment for American Indians and Alaska Natives
  • training and education for biomedical, behavioral and health services research positions.
  • experience and training in writing successful PHS grant applications
  • Research that is directly linked to health concerns articulated by the Tribal community

The grant for these activities goes from IHS to the Tribal partner, which then subcontracts with the research intensive institution(s). This keeps the community in charge of the research, but draws on the university for all the expertise that may be necessary to accomplish the scientific and training goals of the NARCH. There is no research line in the IHS budget. The IHS therefore depends on the research agencies (such as NIH and AHRQ) for all of the funding for NARCH. NIGMS funds the bulk of the research training and the core activities of each NARCH. The NARCH program then looks to the other institutes and centers to fund research projects that fall into their scientific areas.

For more information regarding the need for Tribal/Partner-sponsored research infrastructure and future funding opportunities, please contact Dr. Alan Trachtenberg, NARCH Project Officer at 301-443-0578begin_of_the_skype_highlighting .

For additional information on the National IHS NARCH program, click here http://www.ihs.gov/MedicalPrograms/Research/narch.cfm.

At the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council (MTWYTLC), the Northern Plains Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) Program includes one NARCH V program. The MTWYTLC Program began in 2009 and has a budget of approximately $125,000 per year.

Academic and Community Partners

Spero Manson, Co-PI NARCH Diabetes Study

Joan OConnell, Co-PI NARCH Diabetes Study

Our Activities

Diabetes Research

Oral Health Research

RMTIRB, Research

NARCH Brochure

Our Communities