AIHEC NARCH logoHealth and Wellness: AIHEC Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH)

IRB Professional Development

Tribal and Tribal College Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) professional development sessions are intended for members of IRBs serving tribal communities and tribal colleges. Sessions examine the nuances of research in Indian country and the challenges presented to these Institutional Review Boards.

IRBs have been established at the majority of tribal colleges and a significant number established by tribal nations. Sponsored by AIHEC's NARCH Project, 1.5-day professional development sessions are intended for members of IRBs serving tribal communities and tribal colleges. Each session will provide an overview of the purpose, scope, and mission of IRBs including the requirements that must be met according to Title 45 CFR, Part 46 as administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Most specifically, the focus of each session will examine the nuances of research in Indian country and the challenges presented to these IRBs. There will be discussion of the types of issues being faced by IRBs in Indian country including best practices. Training Materials and Reference Information

Indigenous Research Methodology Graduate Certificate Program

Introduction to Indigenous Community Engagement and Research by Bonnie Duran, DrPH, at Sitting Bull College.

The goal of this course is to weave together the theory and practice of indigenous and critical methodologies and community engaged research through study of the literature, case studies, presentations by Native researchers, partners, and self-reflection on our own research questions and inquiry. Participants will gain an appreciation of indigenous methodologies and community engaged research advantages and challenges, as well as skills necessary for participating effectively in research projects. Candidates who complete the program will have acquired the ability to articulate a behavioral health research question into a research project, demonstrated understanding of the requirements of conducting research within Native American Institutional Review Board (IRB) jurisdictions, and demonstrated the facility with research tools, instrumentation and methods necessary to implement, analyze, and disseminate findings of a behavioral health research project.

Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health Tribal IRB Toolkit

This toolkit contains practical tools and guidance for starting a Tribal institutional Review Board. It is intended to serve as a resource for American Indian Tribal Nations or other Indigenous Nations developing Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) for the ethical review and monitoring of research on tribal land. It was developed by the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health (CRCAIH).

Writing Workshop Presentation

Dr. Tessa Evans Campbell presented a two day training session to enhance the professional writing skills for the NARCH TCUs. The focus of her presentation was on the development of an introduction and framing the message of an article with the training culminating in the development of a writing plan.

AIHEC Behavioral Health FaceBook

A Facebook page has been established to enable the sharing of research, professional development opportunities, and events that are relevant to the TCUs and Native communities in the area of behavioral health including historical trauma.

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.


  1. Indigenous Students' Sources of Strength at a Tribal College by Melissa Holder and Sierra Two Bulls, Haskell Indian Nations University.
  2. CBPR on the Alaska Frontier: The Continued Adventures of a Reluctant Researcher by Lauren Kelly, Iḷisaġvik College.
  3. A Mental Health Assessment of the IAIA Student Body by Marushka Eloise Stempien, Institute of American Indian Arts.
  4. Indigenous Research Through an Indigenous Worldview by Sweeney Windchief, Montana State University.
  5. Introduction to NIH by Roberto Delgado, Jr. and Kathy Etz, National Institute of Mental Health