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Free webinar on culturally centering treatments for substance use disorder – Friday, 10/15

The Native Center for Alcohol Research Education (NCARE) and Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk Through Technology (NCHART) Webinar Series presents:

Considerations for Culturally Centering Evidence-Based Treatments among American Indian and Alaska Native Communities, with Dr. Kait Hirchak (Eastern Shoshone), Assistant Research Professor in WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

Dr. Hirchak will highlight two case studies to describe re-centering evidence-based treatments for substance use disorder in partnership with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. These studies are part of a growing body of research on cultural adaptations of substance use disorder interventions among racially and ethnically diverse adults. Dr. Hirchak will also discuss the importance of community-based participatory research and additional efforts to improve treatment outcomes for AI/AN adults participating in culturally adapted interventions.

Please register here for the free webinar, Friday, October 15, 2021, 11 AM – 12 PM PDT. Learn more about Dr. Hirchak here.

Virtual Conference on Dementia-Friendly Communities: September 14-15

If you want to make your community more dementia-friendly – whether you’re an individual with dementia, a caregiver, or somebody who works with people with dementia – please join us for “Collaborating for a Dementia-Friendly Washington: Expanding Possibilities,” a 2-day virtual conference, 9am-12pm, Tues/Wed, September 14-15.

The event will spotlight strategies, programs and initiatives to build a more dementia-friendly community, and will feature IREACH’s Dr. Ka’imi Sinclair, who will moderate a panel on Indigenous Perspectives on Dementia.

Dementia Friendly Communities 2021 is organized by the University of Washington Memory and Brain Wellness Center, on behalf of the Washington State Dementia Action Collaborative, with primary funding from the Aging and Long Term Support Administration, and with a planning committee made up of advisors from across the state.

The full event schedule can be viewed here, and registration is now open here.

IREACH-led project to combat dementia in Native, Pacific Islander communities

We are excited to announce that NEAR (Natives Engaged in Alzheimer’s Research) – a new IREACH-led project battling disparities associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups – has received $14.6 million in funding from the National Institute on Aging.

Though highly diverse, Native and Pacific Islander populations all experience high rates of conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes and low socioeconomic status that make dementia more likely. To test interventions to improve detection and treatment of dementia, the NEAR network will rely on 8 satellite centers directed by researchers who are members of these communities, in coordination with 11 tribes, 7 urban Indian organizations, 5 Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander community groups, and 6 academic institutions.

Read more about the project in the WSU Insider, the Spokesman-Review, Hawaii Public Radio, University of Hawai’i News, BYU News, and University of Miami News.

IREACH scientist Astrid Suchy-Dicey awarded NIH grants to study relationships between stress-related factors and cognitive function in Native Americans

Dr. Suchy-Dicey, Assistant Professor in WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and Dr. Celestina Barbosa-Leiker of WSU’s College of Nursing have been awarded $1.7 million for a 3-year study exploring how cognitive function in Native Americans is impacted by psychological risk factors – disproportionately high levels of stress, trauma, depression, and substance use – but also by potentially protective factors such as community connectedness and improved health-related quality of life. The researchers will investigate the effect of these factors on cognitive performance by collecting psychological and cognitive data in partnership with the ongoing Strong Heart Study, a 30-year study of American Indians from 13 tribal communities across the US.

Impaired cognitive performance can indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD), which is more prevalent in Native Americans than other groups. Suchy-Dicey and Barbosa-Leiker aim to gain a comprehensive understanding of key risk and protective factors to better inform strategies to prevent or alleviate ADRD in Native Americans.

This project complements another NIH-funded study headed by Dr. Suchy-Dicey – also in partnership with the Strong Health Study – examining the effects of individual resilience, social support, and alignment with Native identity on brain health and ADRD.

Apply for Fall 2021 Tribal Communities Internship Program

Applications are being accepted now for the Fall 2021 Tribal Communities Internship Program, hosted by IREACH in partnership with WSU’s Center for Native American Research and Collaboration. Full-time paid internships connecting student researchers with tribal communities & organizations, Native Nations, and ongoing health research projects are open to eligible undergrads, grad students & postdocs across the US. Awards range from $5-10K. Click here for more details. Submit applications here.

IREACH’s Dr. Cassandra Nikolaus – WSU Researcher on the Rise

A research assistant professor in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, Dr. Nikolaus studies the relationship between food security and health.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 1 in 9 households in the US experience food insecurity, which can lead to poor physical and mental health, including increased risk of depression, diabetes, and obesity.

Click here to read an in-depth interview with Dr. Nikolaus and to learn more about how her personal experiences with food insecurity underlie her goal to make a difference for households and families undergoing some of the same challenges.

American Medical Association taps IREACH Director Dedra Buchwald for prestigious search committee

The AMA announced that Dr. Dedra Buchwald, M.D., is one of 18 prominent doctors and scientists selected to identify a new editor in chief for the renowned biomedical journal, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.

JAMA, which has been published continuously since 1883, is the most widely circulated general medical journal in the world. “JAMA is one of the world’s preeminent journals – steeped in data, research, and cutting-edge medical science – that helps drive the future of medicine,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, M.D., Professor at Johns Hopkins University and chair of the search committee. “Our task – and the reason I am so pleased to be joined by such an outstanding group of colleagues on this search committee – is finding the leader…capable of leading the JAMA Network into a new era.”

Buchwald, who has herself published more than 425 scientific articles, is honored to serve on this esteemed committee and looks forward to identifying an editor in chief who will continue to drive JAMA’s mission to further biomedicine to improve public health for all humankind.

Read the AMA press release here.

NCARE and Native-CHART Webinar on Cultural Humility in Practice RESCHEDULED to Weds, June 9

The Cultural Humility in Practice webinar with Dr. Gary Ferguson has been RESCHEDULED to Wednesday June 9th at 12 PM Pacific Time.

Please register using the link below. If you already registered for the original date, you do not need to re-register.

As we work to address health equity, many of us strive to be culturally competent. Framing our efforts through the lens of cultural humility enriches our mission to be as inclusive as possible. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cultural humility as “a life-long process of self-reflection and self-critique whereby the individual not only learns about another’s culture, but one starts with an examination of their own beliefs and cultural identities.” In this talk, we will explore how to apply this perspective to the work we do in promoting healthy communities.

We invite you to learn more about the work of IREACH by attending the webinar on June 9.

The webinar is free, but registration is required.

Please register here.

Learn more about Dr. Ferguson here.

Call for Applications for the NCARE Pilot Project Program

We are pleased to share our Call for Applications for the Native Center for Alcohol Research and Education (NCARE) Pilot Project Program. Letters of Intent will be due May 28th, 2021 to

This Call for Applications is aimed at promoting innovative research projects that focus on reducing the burden of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in American Indian and Alaska Native communities (AI/AN) and that will subsequently lead to future external funding.

While preference will be given to junior investigators, mid-career and senior researchers who have not conducted alcohol intervention research in Native communities are eligible to apply.

Please refer to the NCARE Call for Applications page for eligibility criteria, full application details, and application forms.


The Native Center for Alcohol Research and Education

 NCARE is supported by the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism under Award Number P60AA026112