The Oklahoma NARCH IV project is complete.
What is NARCH? The US Indian Health Service describes NARCH this way… "Federally recognized Tribes, Tribal Organizations (including Tribal Colleges) and Tribally authorized Indian Health Boards are eligible to form partnerships with research institutions and apply for funding to create a Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH). The NARCH initiative, now in its seventh year and fifth funding cycle, provides funding to AI/AN Tribes or Tribally based organizations to create partnerships with research institutions and conduct high quality biomedical, behavioral and health services research that will be relevant to the needs of the Tribes."
Oklahoma NARCH IV was led by the Chickasaw Nation. In collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation and the Cherokee Nation the OU Health Sciences Center developed a NARCH IV project for faculty development. The project included research training for Tribal employees/members to facilitate their work within the Tribal health system as key partners with academic faculty and other community members for the conduct of health related research. The Oklahoma UCEDD worked to develop and sustain relationships with Oklahoma Tribes and to engage in community based participatory research. UCEDD staff (Williams and Harnden) was involved with the Oklahoma NARCH faculty development project to support the development of these relationships and worked with participating tribal members on projects of shared interest.
The NARCH project provided a way to appreciate two cultures: Tribal culture and Academic Research culture. The project offered participants and program faculty:
Oklahoma NARCH Faculty Development began in early 2007 and accepted the first class of participants in August 2007. Planning, coordination and delivery of the faculty development program were the major tasks. Work included:
"The learning environment was relaxed and fun. I welcomed the mini-vacations from the office each month to sit around a giant table with my peers and learn about something I am interested in. We have built a partnership among ourselves." -- Brooke B.
"How we went about creating our learning environment was so important…how we set ground rules and made each other comfortable…I felt comfortable learning and we all learned from each other." -- Bobby S.
"Within our group, I probably had the least clinical research experience. The NARCH research learning collaborative enabled me to begin research that I wanted to participate in and have a wealth of research experience at my fingertips. Learning the CBPR process and now feeling like a 'go to' researcher in my tribal community is priceless." --Tom K.
"I enjoyed participating in this project. The learning environment that we created allowed me to feel comfortable and encouraged me to participate. The faculty was very helpful. I especially appreciated their patience, flexibility and the new relationships we have formed." -- Shon M
Valerie N. Williams, Ph.D., Project Principal Investigator
UCEDD Director and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and
NARCH IV project partners included, the Chickasaw Nation, Cherokee Nation, and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.