Fifth Annual AIHEC Behavioral Health Research Institute
Historical Trauma and Community Based Participatory Research
The AIHEC NARCH Project is designed to build the research capacity in behavioral health at the Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). An important component of this effort is the provision of an annual Behavioral Health Research Institute to provide professional development in behavioral health research theory, practice, and technical assistance. The fifth institute was held in Seattle, WA, on June 18-21, 2018, as a joint event with the University of Washington Research Conference.
In developing the NARCH Project, AIHEC recognized two important factors with regard to behavioral health research. The first was the impact of historical trauma that American Indian communities have experienced and continue to experience. This is an important concept to recognize in doing research in this field. In addition, AIHEC recognized that American Indians are traditionally collective societies whose decisions are made by the group or by elders, and not on an individual basis. This dynamic is an important cultural process to consider in designing research and found that the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR), when operationalized in American Indian communities facilitated tribes as equal partners with regard to research resulting in tribal communities participating in the identification of the problem, the research design, the selection of measures, subjects and findings.
Purpose and Structure of the Behavioral Health Research Institute
The Behavioral Health Research Institute met for two and one-half days with the goal of furthering the development of research capacity in behavioral health for TCUs through presentations, research experience of Cohort II TCUs, small group breakouts, interactive activities, reflections on readings, and reflection on one’s own research experience. It was intended for participants to distinguish indigenous research methodology; assess indigenous research methodology as it may apply within communities; define the responsibilities of researchers in indigenous communities; review CBPR implementation within TCUs and their communities; identify major contextual and historical factors significant in the work with TCUs and indigenous communities; and contribute to the contextualization of five manuscripts based on analysis of data from the TCU Student Epidemiology Survey.
- Indigenous Students’ Sources of Strength at a Tribal College by Melissa Holder and Sierra Two Bulls, Haskell Indian Nations University.
- CBPR on the Alaska Frontier: The Continued Adventures of a Reluctant Researcher by Lauren Kelly, Iḷisaġvik College.
- A Mental Health Assessment of the IAIA Student Body by Marushka Eloise Stempien, Institute of American Indian Arts.
- Indigenous Research Through an Indigenous Worldview by Sweeney Windchief, Montana State University.
- Introduction to NIH by Roberto Delgado, Jr. and Kathy Etz, National Institute of Mental Health