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Native-CHART News

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.

Upcoming Webinar: Engaging Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders And Activating Communities To Take Steps (ENACTS)

Click here to view flyer

Join us for the next webinar in the Native-Controlling Hypertension And Risk Through Technology (Native-CHART) Series Engaging Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders and Activating Communities to Take Steps (ENACTS) with Dr. Ka’imi Sinclair.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Compared to Whites, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs) are 3 to 4 times more likely to develop these conditions. While medication can help control blood pressure, it is often not enough. Eating foods low in sodium/salt and high in potassium can help lower blood pressure. The goal of the Engaging Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders and Activating Communities to Take Steps (ENACTS) study is to teach NHPIs how to better manage their blood pressure by  choosing and eating foods lower in sodium/salt and higher in potassium.

Dr. Ka`imi Sinclair will discuss the ENACTS study, including how its educational curriculum was developed and how participants were recruited.

The webinar will be April 2nd from 11-12 PST. The event is free, but registration is required.

9th Annual Rooted in the Mountains Symposium

The 9th annual Rooted in the Mountains symposium was held on September 27, 28, 2018 at the Blue Ridge Conference room on the campus of Western Carolina University.

Dr. Lisa Lefler, WCU Director of the Culturally Based Native Health Program and Executive Director of the Center for Native Health, in collaboration with Dr. Turner Goins, WCU Ambassador Jeanette W. Hyde Endowed Professor and Director of the WCU Southeast Satellite Center for Native Controlling Hypertension and Risk through Technology Center and the Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Diabetes Translation Research, imparted this year’s theme, Heart Health – Women’s Health:  Rooted in Culture, to a well-received audience (250+) of WCU students, faculty, along with local and regional community stakeholders.

The keynote speaker, Katsi Cook (Mohawk), a renowned Native women’s health advocate and environmental restoration activist, brought an emotive address, “Woman as the First Environment” to symposium attendees.  Dr. Sur Ah Hahn, WCU Social Work department, responded by sharing, “The Rooted Conference has been always a place where I could learn and celebrate culture and history of Native countries and communities. Particularly this year when we heard from Native women speakers and panels about their stories on violence, trauma and resilience, it was truly eye-opening and empowering experience. I am sure everyone in the room shared that sentiment and appreciated these women’s tremendous courage, knowledge and wisdom to heal and fight against injustice toward Native women and their communities. I firmly believe every member of WCU community should participate in learning from this precious opportunity to be inspired and empowered to achieve more just and inclusive society here in this country.”

The two-day event assembled a variety of local and national Native panelists.  Symposium day one included Rebecca Tsosie, JD (Yaqui); EBCI enrolled physicians, Drs. Stephanie Hornbuckle, Carmen Nations, and Blythe Winchester; EBCI nurses and behavioral health professionals, Lou Jackson, Onita Bush, Lisa Denzer, Sami Chen, Billie Jo Rich, Terri Henry, and Sarah Sneed; all sharing Native women’s health and language issues, choosing a path of healing, as well as, violence against Native women.  Dr. Judy Berglund shared, “I was so impressed with the dedication and leadership of the women in the EBCI tribe and the other Native American women, who spoke about their experiences, their current roles, their fight against violence towards NA women, and their ability to provide such positive role models for young NA women and men.  It was a very impressive, moving, and beautiful symposium.  I was honored to attend.”

Symposium day two included speakers sharing Native national public health ethics policy issues, Native Strong Heart health research, Native mindfulness stress reduction research, as well as, Cherokee male panelists discussing their personal heart health and recovery stories.  National speakers were comprised of Dave Baldridge (Cherokee), Dr. James Howard, Dr. Jeff Proulx (Mohawk) and local Native speakers included Tom Belt (Cherokee Nation) and T.J. Holland (Cherokee).

Tom Belt (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) leading the group in an opening prayer and song for the 9th Annual Rooted in the Mountains Symposium at Western Carolina University
Dr. Howard presenting on the Strong Heart and SANDS studies
Dr. Proulx’s presentation titled “Developing a Mindfulness Program for Stress Reduction with Native Communities”
Dave Baldridge presenting on Ethics in Indian Country
Tom Belt and T.J. Holland (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) engaging in a panel discussion entitled “Heart Health: Cherokee Men and Stories of Heart Health and Recovery”


The power point slides from this symposium can be accessed here

The event was made possible by the following contributing sponsors: WCU Office of the Provost, WCU Ambassador Jeanette Hyde Distinguished Professor, WCU Sequoyah Distinguished Professor, Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk through Technology (N-CHART U54MD011240), and the Center for Native Health.


2018 Native-CHART Annual Meeting

On November 8 and 9, Partnerships for Native Health hosted the third annual meeting for Native-Controlling Hypertension and Risk Through Technology (Native-CHART). Some highlights from the gathering include the following:

  • Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula, Professor and Chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, presented his research on race, discrimination, and blood pressure.
  • Jason Umans provided training and guidance on the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Hypertension Guidelines.

Attendees also received updates on Native-CHART’s three current projects:

  • Our partners at Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska, discussed their progress with Blood-Pressure-Improving Control among Alaska Native People (BP-ICAN).
  • Washington State University researchers presented an update on Engaging Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders and Activating Communities to Take Steps (ENACTS).
  • Our partners from the Chickasaw Nation and the University of Oklahoma updated attendees on the Chickasaw Healthy Eating Environments Research Study (CHEERS).

Past Webinar: The Effects of Racism on Hypertension in Native Hawaiians

Our upcoming webinar will provide a brief sociohistorical overview of Native Hawaiians and detail their social and cultural determinants of health. Dr. Kaholokula will review several empirical studies that elucidate the adverse effects of racism on hypertension risk and other related conditions, including psychophysiological processes. He will discuss the pathways by which racism leads to the development of chronic diseases

Click here to view flyer

among Native Hawaiians and present preliminary findings on an intervention that is culturally grounded in hula, the traditional dance of Hawaiʻi, to improve hypertension management. Dr. Kaholokula’s presentation will illustrate the importance of culturally grounded interventions for improving clinical and sociocultural outcomes among Indigenous peoples.

Register Here

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