Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH)

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences in conjunction with multiple NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) have partnered with Indian Health Service (IHS) to support the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH). The NARCH program supports opportunities for conducting research and career enrichment to meet health needs prioritized by American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes or tribally based organizations. It aims:

  • to work toward reducing health disparities in AI/AN populations by allowing the AI/AN communities to control and prioritize the health research and career enhancement opportunities.
  • to support health research projects selected and prioritized by the AI/AN communities.
  • to encourage research capacity and infrastructure building within AI/AN communities to provide the framework for sustainability of research within the tribal communities.
  • to enhance health research partnerships while promoting a cadre of scientists and health research professionals interested in AI/AN health research from within and outside the AI/AN communities.

NARCH Awards Promote:

  • Research activities that are directly linked to health concerns selected by the tribal communities.
  • Research experience and education for biomedical research careers related to AI/AN health.
  • AI/AN engagement in biomedical research prioritized by the tribal communities.
  • Local and regional professional and administrative employment for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

NARCH grant applications are submitted by and awarded to the tribe or tribal organization. Awarding the grant directly to the tribe or tribal organization allows for the community to dictate and oversee research priorities, while drawing upon necessary expertise from the research community to accomplish its scientific goals. Due to the complexity of the NARCH awards, NIH and the IHS work closely to support this program. NIH oversees funding and management of NARCH grants, while IHS oversees interactions with the tribal organizations and provides guidance involving human subjects research. NIGMS primarily funds faculty development, student research training, and capacity building activities of each awarded NARCH, while NIH ICOs support activities within the purview of the ICO’s strategic goals.

NARCH Evaluation and Tribal Consultation

Beginning in CY20, NIGMS conducted an evaluation of the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program to ensure that it continues to optimally meet the health research, education, and training needs identified and prioritized by American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) communities. As part of this evaluation, NIGMS initiated and held a formal Tribal Consultation [PDF] to solicit input and feedback from Tribal Leaders and Tribal Organizations on matters related to the evaluation. A Tribal Consultation report containing feedback obtained through this consultation process is posted here and on the NIGMS Evaluations webpage. Contents of this report were also presented to the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council at its September 2021 meeting.

Funding Opportunity Announcement: