NARCH Overview: Mission

Provide a cooperative structure for the development and implementation of high quality, culturally sensitive and community supported research linked to health disparity issues. Collaborative effort will facilitate the participation of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the research process through training and mentoring opportunities within both academic and community settings.

Great Lakes NARCH Program Highlights Video
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UW School of Medicine and Public Health-GLITC's Increasing Cultural Congruence

Collaborative Partners:
  • Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council
  • Wisconsin Tribes
  • University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
  • University of Wisconsin Medical School
  • University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Wisconsin Indian Education Association

NARCH Goals:
  • Encourage cooperative research linked to reducing health disparities
  • Increase the number of AI/AN students, scientists, health professionals and organizations engaged in biomedical, clinical and behavioral research
  • Build capacity of both academic institutions and GLITC to work to reduce distrust by AI/AN communities toward research

Below are examples of current NARCH research projects. These projects also provide hands on internship opportunities for students in Phase 3 of the Student Development Program.
The Prevalence of Congenital Heart Disease in Native Americans in Wisconsin
Project Principal Investigator: Andrew Pelech, M.D. – Medical College of Wisconsin
Project Co-Principal Investigator: John Dellinger, Ph.D. – UW-Milwaukee

• Actively ascertain all cases of CHD in Native American children born in representative areas of the state of Wisconsin from January 2000 to present;
• Accurately classify phenotypic forms of CHD and birth addresses within this sample population
• Compare the type and frequency of these abnormalities to 1) the population of Wisconsin and 2) to the population of the nation;
•Obtain environmental risk factor and family history information from affected and case control matched unaffected families.

Breast Cancer Risk and Screening Patterns in Bemidji Area American Indian Women
Project Principal Investigator: Wesley Petersen, Ph.D. – Mayo Clinic
Project Co-Investigator: Judith Kaur, M.D. – Mayo Clinic

• Enumerate the prevalence of standard clinical breast cancer risk factors in Bemidji Area Native Women (NW);
• Analyze breast density in mammograms, as an additional risk indicator;
• A) Determine how often a clinical breast exam is done in conjunction with mammography; B) determine the interval between current and prior mammogram dates;
• A) Use the Gail model and mammogram density data to determine the proportion of NW at increased risk of breast cancer; B) analyze whether those at increased risk are receiving screening according to standard recommendations;
• A) Implement educational programs for health clinics and tribes that seek to learn more about breast cancer screening and mentor students exploring cancer research careers; B) Inform providers and tribal leaders (1) about the proportion of women at risk in their communities; (2) develop understanding of the implications of risk; and (3) encourage efforts to have higher risk women screened regularly.
Obesity Prevention in AI Youth
Project Principal Investigator: Alexandra Adams, MD – UW Medical School
Project Co-Investigator: Adrienne Laverdure, MD – Peter Christensen Health Center
  • Assess the prevalence of obesity and cardiovascular risk factors in AI children
  • Model familial and environmental determinants of obesity
  • Develop community-based programs for the prevention of obesity and its sequelae, cardiovascular disease and diabetes

Protective Effects of Traditional Diets

Project Principal Investigators: Michael Carvan, Ph.D. – UW Milwaukee
  • Determine the dose/response relationship for the protective effects of selenium against methylmercury toxicity in zebra fish embryos
  • Analyze the offspring of exposed zebra fish for transgenerational effects of methylmercury toxicity and the protective effects of selenium
  • Investigate the disruption of normal molecular pathways to determine the best indicators of both the toxic effects of methylmercury and the beneficial effects of selenium

Improving AI Cancer Surveillance and Data Reporting in Wisconsin

Project Principal Investigator: Patrick Remington, MD – UW Medical School
Project Director: Rick Strickland, MA – UW Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Develop tribe-based cancer profiles among Wisconsin Tribes
  • Develop methods to improve accuracy and reporting of cancer cases
  • Assess completeness and accuracy of cancer cases reported to the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System

Reproductive Health - Outcomes and Cost-Effectiveness Among Native Americans in Wisconsin
Project Principal Investigator: Jeanne Hewitt, Ph.D. – UW Milwaukee
  • Provide Native American Tribes in Wisconsin with baseline data on reproductive outcomes including prematurity, high and low birth weight in relation to length of gestation, birth defects, infant mortality and respiratory conditions in infancy
  • Examine association between potential risk and protective factors and select infant outcomes
  • Provide a cost-effectiveness and analysis estimating the direct and indirect costs and benefits of interventions

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