NIH and Tribal Nations—Commitment and Collaboration

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NIH is committed to upholding Tribal sovereignty, a transparent and consistent Tribal Consultation process, and supporting the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives through biomedical and behavioral health research. Learn more about the importance of tribal health research-related efforts at NIH and NIAID.

New NIH Tribal Consultation Policy

NIH issued a new Tribal Consultation Policy on March 17, 2022. With an emphasis on trust and shared responsibility, Tribal Consultation is a formal government-to-government process for open and free exchange of information. At NIH, it is a foundational opportunity for the scientific community to listen to and learn from Tribal leaders, and respectfully consider the rights, knowledge, priorities, concerns, history, and culture of Tribal Nations before developing NIH research priorities, policies, and programs that have significant implications for Tribal communities.

Regular, meaningful engagement with Tribal partners helps ensure American Indians and Alaska Natives are well-represented in research and benefit from its outcomes. The new Policy requires all parts of NIH to engage in Tribal Consultation before any actions with significant Tribal implications are taken. To learn more about the new policy and Tribal Consultation, go to Tribal Consultations

The NIH Tribal Health Research Office (THRO)

THRO was established in 2015 to ensure meaningful input from and collaboration with Tribal Nations on NIH policies, programs, and priorities. It is the central point of contact at NIH for federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribes throughout the United States.

The Office also convenes and provides technical support to the NIH Tribal Advisory Committee and drives agency-wide goals related to the NIH Strategic Plan for Tribal Health Research. Located within the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director, THRO is the central hub for coordinating tribal health research across NIH.

The THRO team is focused on enhancing capacity for research in Tribal communities, promoting opportunities for the next generation of AI/AN researchers at NIH and beyond, and disseminating transparent and culturally competent information to Native communities about NIH, biomedical research, clinical trials, and other opportunities for collaboration. Find additional information on the THRO website.

NIAID Tribal Engagements

AI/AN communities were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 at the outset of the pandemic. There was an urgent need for real-time, trustworthy information about the virus and how to stop its spread, and vaccine development.

THRO and NIAID worked closely together in support of Tribal communities and, as a trusted voice, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci participated in events with Tribal leaders and community members to share critical health information as it emerged. For instance, he joined the White House Tribal Nations Summit, a radio media tour to address COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy in AI/AN communities, and a Facebook Live event with THRO Director Dr. David Wilson that addressed important questions about COVID-19 research and vaccines from a tribal perspective.

Funding Opportunity Announcements and Other Notices

NIH has published funding opportunity announcements and Guide notices related to tribal health research, including:

Intervention Research To Improve Native American Health (R01, Clinical Trial Optional)

Supports research on interventions to improve health in Native American populations. Application due dates: May 17, 2022 and May 17, 2023.

Notice of Intent To Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for RADx Tribal Data Repository

Announces that the NIH Office of the Director intends to publish a funding opportunity announcement to support a Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx®) Tribal Data Repository (RADx TDR) for AI/AN data collected from projects supported by the RADx initiative. First estimated application due date is May 25, 2022.

Request for Public Comments on DRAFT Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing: Responsible Management and Sharing of American Indian/Alaska Native Participant Data

Seeks input on draft Supplemental Information to the NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing (DMS Policy) to promote responsible management and sharing of AI/AN participant data under the NIH DMS Policy. Response date is April 28, 2022.

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