NIGMS, IHS Host American Indian Training Needs Meeting
By Danielle Wittenberg
NIGMS, along with the Indian Health Service, recently brought together American Indian scientists from around the country for a 2-day meeting to discuss the research training needs of American Indians.
The participants were asked to recommend ways NIH can improve its relationship with the American Indian community and foster better working partnerships that will lead to more American Indian biomedical researchers. They discussed topics ranging from credibility with the American Indian community to the needs of new basic science investigators and students.
Tentative recommendations included encouraging tribes to participate in research as applicant organizations; supporting and extending successful training activities of American Indian scientific societies, including programs targeting pre-college students; and enhancing the outreach activities of existing clinical and community-based research programs.
"NIH is fortunate to have had the benefit of such a large, broadly constituted delegation of representatives from the American Indian community," said Dr. Michael Martin, director of the Division of Physiological Systems at the Center for Scientific Review. "They have given us new insights and described opportunities that NIH can take immediate advantage of, as well as those that we can incorporate into our long-term planning."
The meeting, which hosted more than 30 panelists and as many as 60 observers, was described by Dr. Clifton Poodry, director of NIGMS' Division of Minority Opportunities in Research, as "the first step in a process that will foster a stronger relationship with American Indian communities. It has already begun catalyzing interactions among NIH institutes and between NIGMS and IHS that will help us address a particularly challenging area of underrepresentation," he said.
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