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Native-CHART News

Water and Cardiovascular Health: Metal Contaminants in Native American Communities

Sept. 2, 2020 | Noon-1:30 p.m.

Keynote speaker: Dr. Ana Navas-Acien, Columbia University

Ana Navas-Acien is a physician-epidemiologist (MD, University of Granada, Spain ’96) with a specialty in Preventive Medicine and Public Health (Hospital La Paz, Madrid ’01) and a PhD in Epidemiology (Johns Hopkins University ’05). Her research investigates the long-term health effects of environmental exposures (arsenic and other metals, tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes, air pollution), their interactions with genetic and epigenetic variants, and effective interventions for reducing involuntary exposures. She collaborates with the Strong Heart Study, a study of cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in American Indian communities, and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a study of cardiovascular and lung disease in urban settings across the US. Her goals are to contribute to the reduction of environmental health disparities in underserved and disproportionately exposed populations.

An interactive panel discussion follows with Heather Gregory (EBCI), Dr. Tommy Rock (Navajo Nation), and Reno L. Red Cloud (Oglala Sioux Tribe) along with your questions.

Sponsored by WCU Culturally Based Native Health Programs and Native-CHART grant. This work is supported by grant U54 MDO11240-Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk through Technology Native-CHART – funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

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CHEERS Webinar

Join us for our next Native-CHART webinar on the Chickasaw Healthy Eating Environments Research Study (CHEERS)!

This webinar will provide an overview of CHEERS, a study being conducted in partnership with the Chickasaw Nation. CHEERS comprises several mutually reinforcing strategies to improve blood pressure control among American Indian adults with uncontrolled hypertension. Study findings, including a health economics assessment, will be used to promote policies to expand both the Packed Promise for a Healthy Heart intervention and the establishment of brick-and-mortar grocery outlets in rural Chickasaw Nation communities.

The webinar will be June 3rd from 12-1 pm PT. The event is free, but registration is required

Hypertension: History, Impact, and Interventions Webinar

How and why do we measure blood pressure (BP)? Does it matter?  How do we decide if BP is too high (a condition known as hypertension) and whether that is a result of aging, bad luck, or a disease?  If it’s a disease, when and how should we treat it?  How does hypertension interact with other diseases, and does race or ethnicity increase (or decrease) the risks of high BP? This presentation will provide a brief history of our developing understanding of hypertension’s central role in cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and stroke.  In particular, it will include a selective review of the research results which have driven diagnostic and treatment guidelines and public health policies over the past century.

Dr. Jason G. Umans is Director of the Biomarker, Biochemistry and Biorepository Core and of the Field Studies Division at MedStar Health Research Institute. He also serves as Associate Professor of Medicine and of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Georgetown University and directs the training and career development components of the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science.  He is a hypertension specialist, nephrologist, clinical pharmacologist, and translational scientist whose work spans multiple domains, from basic laboratory work to bedside care delivery to community- and population-based research. Over the past 14 years, his primary research focus has been on the staggering disparities in cardiovascular disease and related disorders that affect American Indian and Alaska Native populations nationwide. For Native-CHART, Dr. Umans participates in the Methods Core, where he collaborates with investigators on all three Native-CHART research projects to ensure that their work is both methodologically rigorous and clinically relevant to the provision of cutting-edge hypertension care.

The webinar will be February 25th from 12:30-1:30pm PT. The event is free, but registration is required

UPCOMING WEBINAR: Blood Pressure-Improving Control Among Alaska Native People (BP-ICAN)

Stroke and cardiovascular disease are leading causes of death among Alaska Native and American Indian people. Hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), is the leading cause of these two serious health issues. The goal of the BP-ICAN study is to understand the impact of self-management and communication strategies on hypertension management.

Dr. Denise Dillard will discuss the BP-ICAN study, including the community’s engagement in the project design. She will also review preliminary studies that examined patient and provider views on the nature of hypertension and BP management strategies and evaluated different types of home BP monitors. The results of these preliminary studies were used to design a larger study to determine if using a home BP monitor helps patients manage high BP. The study, which is currently recruiting participants, will also look at the value of educational materials and text messages to encourage a heart-healthy lifestyle and will provide tools and resources to help participants communicate about heart health with their healthcare providers.

The webinar will be December 4th from 12-1pm PT. The event is free, but registration is required.

Rooted in the Mountains Symposium Early Registration Open to the Public

Registration is now open for the 10th annual Rooted in the Mountains symposium, to be hosted by Western Carolina University on campus Thursday, Sept. 26, and Friday, Sept. 27.

The symposium will be held in the conference room of Blue Ridge Hall and is intended to integrate indigenous and local knowledge on health and environmental issues. The theme for this year is “Giduwagi ― Appalachian Historical Ecology,” reflecting both the changing landscape and habitat of the mountains and attitudes toward the environment.

“This will be another interdisciplinary forum where ethnography, literature, art, music and native and western science will be center stage,” said Pam Myers, event organizer with WCU’s Culturally Based Native Health Programs, a collaboration between the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and WCU’s College of Health and Human Sciences and N-CHART’s Southeast Satellite Center, “Topics will include native heart disease and diabetes prevention, climate change and nature’s resilience, along with Cherokee food demonstrations and healthy lifestyles.”

The symposium is open to the public with a $75 registration fee, while tribal elders, students and WCU faculty are admitted free. The event is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

To register, visit
More info – email

CHEERS Featured in the Chickasaw Times

The Native-CHART (Native-Controlling Hypertension And Risk Through Technology​) research project Chickasaw Healthy Eating Environments Research Study (CHEERS) was featured in the March edition of the Chickasaw Times. The article can be viewed here on Page 11.