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Native American Research Center fo Health (NARCH)


CA-NARCH Mission

The CA-NARCH is a partnership of Tribal/Urban Indian Organizations and academic institutions committed to working together to increase the number of American Indian/Alaska Native

scientists and health professionals; and to reduce health disparities in Native American populations.


The CA-NARCH Publications

A Partnership for Native American Health

Greater tribal involvement in their healthcare · Recruitment of Native Americans into health and science careers · Research linked to the health priorities of Native Americans.
Thanks to an innovative, synergistic partnership among lead agency, Indian Health Council (IHC), San Diego State University (SDSU), and the University of California San Diego (UCSD), these laudable goals are now possible to attain.

IHC, in partnership with SDSU and UCSD, is funded as a Native American Research Center for Health (CA-NARCH) by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and Indian Health Services (IHS). It is one of 14 NARCH organizations in the United States.

Under the leadership of Dan Calac, MD (Indian Health Council) and Stephanie Brodine, MD (SDSU), CA-NARCH began as an exciting concept funded by seed money in 2001. A NARCH grant of $1.3 million in 2003 enabled CA-NARCH to begin fully pursuing its goals to strengthen tribal sovereignty over the healthcare of the community and to recruit and support students pursuing science and health fields.


The Student Team:

Dan Calac, MD, IHCPrincipal Investigator

Stephanie Brodine, MD, SDSUProgram Director

Geneva Lofton Fitzsimmons, UCSDStudent Program Coordinator

Shirleen McComackAdministration


The Research Team:

Deborah Wingard, PhD, UCSDResearch Director

Christina ChambersPrincipal Investigator

Deborah Morton, PhD, UCSDPrincipal Investigator

Roland Moore, PhD, UC BerkleyPrincipal Investigator


Goals of the CA-NARCH

  • Develop a team of Native American scientists and health professionals engaged in biomedical, clinical, and behavioral research.

  • To promote community based participatory research in Native American communities.

  • Encourage competitive research to reduce health disparities.

Student Development Program

  • Recruit students from local colleges into a series of campus science enrichment programs.

  • Increase retention of CA-NARCH students through faculty/staff mentoring and research assistantships.


For more information contact:

Tel: 760.233.5592 • Fax: 760.749.1564



Research Projects

Acupuncture and Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy Among Native Americans.

Healthy Heart = Healthy Gums? Oral Flora, Periodontitis and Vascular Dysfunction in Young Native Americans.

· Studies have shown that gum disease and heart disease are related to each other.  The Healthy Gums = Healthy Heart? study seeks to answer the question: can we improve a person’s heart health by treating their gum disease?


Healthy Women: Healthy Native Nation (Prenatal Alcohol Consumption Among Native American Women in San Diego County).

· We want every baby to be a healthy baby!  The goal of the Healthy Women: Healthy Native Nation study is to find out how to help women say no to alcohol when they are pregnant or may become pregnant.


CA-NARCH Funded Research Projects:

CA NARCH Student Development (PI: Stephanie Brodine MD): Aims to increase number of NA students that enter/succeed in academia in the sciences and health related fields. Creation of student pipeline and mentoring program.

Caregivers of Frail NA Elders in SD (PI: Mario Garrett PhD): Investigating how the burden placed on NA caregivers is lessened by factors relating to their resilience.

Other CA-NARCH related projects:

  • Miha Nykmut (Living Well with the Help of the Creator): CA American Indian Palliative Care Education (PI: Diane Weiner PhD): Funded by the Lance Armstrong Foundation Community Grant Program. Incorporates anthropology, nursing, and public health research approaches in the creation, evaluation, and modification of pain, palliative, and end-of-life care training for health professionals serving CA NAs.

  • Preventing Underage Drinking by Southwest CA Indians: Building Capacity (PIs: Roland Moore Ph.D., Dan Calac, MD, and Cindy Ehler, Ph.D.): Funded by National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) under contract with Scripps Research Institute. Evaluate and assess underage drinking in 8-21 year old NA adolescents with the aim of intervention and reduction of underage drinking.

  • Smoking and Tobacco Assessment in Native Diabetics (STAND) Study (PI: Deborah Morton Ph.D.): Funded by the State of CA Tobacco Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP). Study of tobacco use patterns with tribal members and the development and implementation of a questionnaire of as well as the administering of blood tests to determine secondhand smoke exposure and type 2 diabetes status.

  • AIAN Adult Tobacco Survey for Rural American Indians (Collaboration with IHC/CRIHB/RSBCIHI)

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