The National Institute of General Medical Sciences and several
other NIH Institutes and Centers have partnered with the Indian
Health Service (IHS) to support the Native American
Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program. The NARCH initiative supports partnerships between American
Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes or tribally-based organizations
and institutions that conduct intensive academic-level biomedical,
behavioral and health services research. NARCH provides opportunities for conducting research, research training
and faculty development to meet the needs of AI/AN
communities. As a developmental process, tribes and tribal
organizations are able to build a research infrastructure,
including a core component for capacity building and the
possibility of reducing the many health disparities so prevalent in
Each NARCH application undergoes rigorous peer
review by the NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR); NIH/CSR
priority scores determine those research projects with the best
science, as well as the best designs and strategies to meet the
objectives of the NARCH program.
Specifically, the purposes of the NARCH initiative are:
- To encourage competitive research linked to the health
priorities of the AI/AN organizations and to reducing health
- To increase the capacity of both AI/AN organizations and
research-intensive institutions to work in partnership to reduce
distrust by AI/AN communities and people toward
- To develop a cadre of AI/AN scientists and health professionals
engaged in biomedical, clinical, behavioral and health services
research who will be competitive in securing NIH funding.
Additional benefits include:
- Research that is directly linked to health concerns articulated
by the tribal communities.
- Experience and training in writing successful grant
- Training and education for biomedical, behavioral and health
services research positions.
- Local and regional professional and administrative employment
for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The grant for these activities is awarded to the Tribal partner,
which then subcontracts with the research intensive institution(s).
This keeps the community in charge of the research, but draws on
the university for expertise that may be necessary to accomplish
the scientific and training goals of the NARCH. Due to the
complexity of the NARCH program, NIH and IHS work closely to
support this initiative. Since IHS is not a research supporting
agency, NIH provides funds to support the NARCH research projects
while IHS manages the activities with the tribal organizations and
research intensive partners. NIGMS funds the bulk of research
training and core activities of each NARCH while NIH ICs support
projects that are within the purview of the IC’s strategic
For additional information about NARCH, see the NIH Guide
for Grants and Contracts, May 31, 2013 (PAR-13-239), or contact Dr. Sheila Caldwell at
NARCH Research Areas