Members of our staff recently enjoyed three rewarding and productive weeks at the Summer Research Training Institute in Portland, Oregon. Housed at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, funded by the National Institutes of Health, and co-sponsored by the Center for Healthy Communities at the Oregon Health & Science University, the Summer Institute features an intensive three-week curriculum designed for professionals working in American Indian and Alaska Native health. This year it ran from June 13 to July 1.

Within the curriculum are more than a dozen week-long courses on a rich array of topics, including epidemiology, biostatistics, indigenous ways of knowing, community-based participatory research, ethical issues in research with human participants, survey design and management, program planning and evaluation, grant management, cancer prevention, and digital storytelling. For Lindsey Montileaux Mabbutt, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a research coordinator at our center, the digital storytelling course was one of the program’s highlights. The video she made for the course – “You Have What It Takes” – is available to view above and on YouTube.

Ms. Montileaux Mabbutt also took the course in community-based participatory research methods, which she found extremely helpful. As she put it,

“The Summer Institute opened my eyes to the power in learning about various aspects of research in our communities, collaboration, and building relationships with others who are doing similar work. I met so many great people who are making a positive impact and are willing to assist young professionals like myself.”

A Native research assistant at our center, Tyler Adamson, took four courses altogether, including biostatistics and epidemiology. He was impressed by the caliber of his fellow trainees, who included physicians, community health workers, and biomedical researchers. Most were Native American. “All brought unique perspectives to our learning environment,” said Mr. Adamson, describing the Summer Institute as “a rare opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals and begin to expand your professional network.”

The brochure for the recently concluded 2016 Summer Institute is available here. This program typically offers travel scholarships and tuition wavers to qualified American Indian and Alaska Native applicants, so we encourage everyone interested in participating to keep it in mind for next year. We also extend our thanks to the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board for making this valuable program possible.