South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019

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August 2019 - Volume 16 - Issue 2



FIU's Community-Based Research Institute receives $1.2 million grant to provide health promotion to indigenous communities

FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work (Stempel), in collaboration with Florida State University’s (FSU) College of Nursing, have earned a $1.275 million grant to address health disparities in Native American communities in Florida.

As part of the grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), FIU’s Community-Based Research Institute (CBRI), part of Stempel, will partner with the Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity (INRHE), part of FSU’s College of Nursing.
The project, titled “Community Partnership Preventing Health Risks among Florida Urban American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Young Adults,” looks to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health promotion and disease prevention services for urban young adults in those communities. To carry out the project, researchers also will partner with Florida Pow Wows and various Native American communities.
The urban American Indian and Alaska Native population is comprised of over 560 various ethnicities, cultures, tribes, communities, associations, and groups of people, many of whom were moved to urban areas through the federal Indian Relocation Act (IRA). IRA participants were assigned to urban locations distant from supportive tribal settings, cultural resources, traditional structures, and family, leading to lingering health and mental health disparities. The current project is designed to help alleviate these disparities.
“We are proud to be partnering with Native American communities and FSU in this effort and are eager to learn from and with our participants how best to end the health disparities plaguing Florida’s urban AI/AN,” said Eric F. Wagner, CBRI director and professor in the School of Social Work at Stempel College.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported the total U.S. American Indian and Alaska Native population to be 5.4 million people in 2014, and the total population in Florida to be more than 100,000 people. Florida is also home to two reservation-based (non-urban) tribes. However, the majority of the 100,000+ American Indian and Alaska Native people living in Florida are urban and not members of the reservation-based tribes. This project targets Florida’s urban-dwelling American Indian and Alaska Native people who mostly reside in the central and northern areas of Florida.
CBRI will lead the research and evaluation component of the project, which results from and extends CBRI’s longstanding collaborations with Native American groups and Native American researchers. FSU’s Center for Indigenous Nursing Research for Health Equity (INRHE) will lead the capacity-building and implementation components of the project which focus on providing accessible, developmentally engaging, culturally and linguistically appropriate, state-of-the-science substance abuse, HIV, and VH prevention services for urban AI/AN young adults living in Florida. INRHE is led by John Lowe, former faculty at FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and is the first indigenous nurse-led research center worldwide. The overall goal of INRHE is to partner with indigenous peoples, communities, and organizations, nationally and internationally, to attain health equity.
“There remain enduring health disparities, substantial service gaps and a large, unmet need for state-of-the-science prevention for substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis among urban American Indian and Alaska Native young adults in Florida,” Lowe said. “This project will contribute significantly and meaningfully to closing this gap and addressing these health disparities.”
SAMHSA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is charged with improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and the cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses.
CBRI is a multidisciplinary prevention research institute devoted to the design, implementation and evaluation of community-based prevention and brief intervention strategies for reducing risk behavior problems and enhancing well-being among youth. The group’s research and applied endeavors have focused on school- and community-based health promotion, particularly among individuals at-risk for alcohol or substance use problems, sexually transmitted infections and antisocial behavior.
About Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work:
Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work inspires groundbreaking discoveries through interdisciplinary education in public health, dietetics and nutrition, social work and disaster preparedness from within a rigorous academic environment at Florida International University (FIU). The college’s three fully accredited disciplines blend course work, research and practice so students develop the skills they need to become future leaders. With an expansive network of more than 8,500 alumni, Stempel College is strengthening communities and influencing policy that promotes healthy lives for all—especially the most underserved. For more information, please visit 
About FIU:
Florida International University is classified by Carnegie as a “R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity” and recognized as a Carnegie Community Engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as business, engineering, computer science, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes almost $9 billion each year to the local economy. The university received honors in all categories of The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “2017 Great Colleges to work for.” FIU graduates are consistently among the highest paid college graduates in Florida and are among the leaders of public and private organizations throughout South Florida. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission with multiple state-of-the-art research facilities including the Wall of Wind Research and Testing Facility, FIU’s Medina Aquarius Program and the Advanced Materials Engineering Research Institute. FIU has awarded more than 220,000 degrees and enrolls more than 56,000 students in two campuses and centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, the Miami Beach Urban Studios, and Tianjin, China. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and more than 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit
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