About Navajo Native American Research Center (NARCH) Partnership

The Navajo NARCH Partnership is a collaboration between Diné  College (MPI: Mark Bauer, PhD) and Northern Arizona University (MPI: Nicolette Teufel-Shone, PhD).

PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT –One goal of the Navajo NARCH Partnership is to develop American Indian scientists and health professionals through an educational pathway, the Student Enhancement Project (SEP). Significant disparities separate Native populations from the health and health infrastructure enjoyed by the general U.S. population. To develop culturally relevant approaches to building healthy communities, more Native health professionals and researchers are needed for Native Nations to exercise their sovereignty including roles and responsibilities to achieve health equity. Yet, for aspiring health professionals on rural reservations, education and training opportunities are limited. The Navajo NARCH Partnership’s SEP will build and institutionalize the human infrastructure needed to conduct relevant evidence-based health research and essential public health services needed to improve the well being of Navajo people. SEP builds on Diné College’s demonstrated ability to collaborate with institutions of higher education to enhance the Navajo Nation’s professional health research capacity by training Navajo students, practitioners, and researchers.

Using an “educational pathway approach” to resources within the Navajo Nation, the specific aims of this project are to:

  1. Inform and expose high school students to roles and career paths of health related professions by expanding NARCH collaborations to high schools and related youth organizations;
  2. Expand the Diné College Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health (BSPH) by developing additional local research experiences, strengthening academic skills and building connections across Diné College’s six campuses on Navajo Nation to support student learning and development. Along with upgrading Diné College’s 10-week Summer Research Enhancement Program (SREP), a sophomore to a senior capstone, gaining accreditation with the Council of Public Health Education (CEPH) and strengthening alignment with graduate level programs;
  3. Adapt the Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with an Indigenous Health (IH) concentration tailored to the practice and research needs of the Navajo Department of Health, Indian Health Service (IHS) and Diné College, and
  4. Mentor recent Navajo post-doctoral fellows or Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) to build for successful, externally funded research careers focused on health equity within Navajo Nation communities.

To achieve these aims, the SEP will leverage existing academic partnerships and coordinate with the Navajo NARCH Partnership Administrative Core and Research Projects to provide educational opportunities through: a) service learning programs for high school students; b) practicum experiences for Diné College bachelor level students and c) field based service and research opportunities within a MPH degree program offered through on-line and face-to-face courses on the Diné College campus.

Evaluation of project impact will be tracked quantitatively, specifically through student enrollment, completed courses, degrees awarded, and qualitatively, through student voice documenting factors associated with academic success and application of learned skill sets.


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