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The American Indian Health Research & Education Alliance is an alliance of organizations whose mission is to partner and collaborate with American Indian peoples, nations, communities, and organizations to improve the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of American Indians throughout the United States through quality participatory research and educational programs. The two primary organizations involved are the Center for American Indian Community Health (CAICH) at the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Center for American Indian Studies (CAIS) at Johnson County Community College. We partner and collaborate with numerous other organizations, conducting research with and providing services to the American Indian community in Kansas, Missouri, and surrounding states.
We use community-based participatory research (CBPR) in all of our studies. CBPR is a type of research that involves community members in all parts of the research process. Almost 80% of our team members are American Indians from many different Nations across the United States. We are among the largest Native research teams in the country. We also have three community advisory boards (CABs) comprised of American Indian representatives from the communities of Lawrence, the four tribes in Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas City, Wichita,and Topeka, who guide all of our activities.
We believe in the importance of education and want to increase the number of American Indians entering the health professions and conducting health research. Therefore, another of our goals is to establish an academic pipeline to improve the educational attainment of all American Indians. We have scholarships available to help.
The majority of our programs are funded through grants, the largest of which is an Exploratory Center of Excellence Grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). This 5-year grant sets up infrastructure to support our research and service. We currently have additional funding from NIMHD, as well as the National Cancer Institute, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the KU Cancer Center. Our previous work has also been funded by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and the KUMC Research Institute, Inc.
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