Black Hills Center for American Indian Health


The Black Hills Center for American Indian Health (BHCAIH) is a proud and long time recipient of the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) grants with the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The National Institute of General Medical Sciences and several other NIH Institutes and Centers have partnered with the Indian Health Service (IHS) to support the Native American Research Centers for Health (NARCH) program. The NARCH initiative supports partnerships between American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes or tribally-based organizations and institutions that conduct intensive academic-level biomedical research.

NARCH provides opportunities for conducting research, research training and faculty development to meet the needs of AI/AN communities. The NARCH program also provides opportunities for tribes and tribal organizations to build research infrastructure, and capacity building to address the health disparities prevalent in AI/AN communities and increase trust of research within the AIAN communities.

​A review of the literature and our experience in working with diverse Indian and Native communities suggests that it is possible to move beyond broad recommendations for a process of community consultation to describe, in more specific ways, factors likely to operate at the level of individual members’ concerns regarding research and their decision to participate or not in studies sanctioned by their respective tribal governments.

We believe that this undertaking represents a critical next step toward framing and pursuing culturally relevant, locally meaningful health research in Native communities. Without well-grounded empirical findings to guide us, future conversations about these matters are likely to be plagued by abstract claims that will forestall the constructive education of prospective investigators, of community participants, as well as the knowledge acquisition process in general.

​This research project, recently completed, provides us with critical information about who decides to participate in health-related research among Native people—and why. We have disseminated these findings through a variety of mechanisms, including relevant coursework at the tribal colleges and universities, through Institutional Review Board training and via an instructional seminar targeted to investigators seeking tribal approval to pursue research within these Lakota communities. We also are now positioned to develop and test specific recruitment and retention strategies in cross-cultural health research, with special reference to members of the Lakota Nation and related research activities sponsored under the auspices of this grant application.

“We look forward to our future research with NARCH and we are grateful for the funding opportunities that have been provided thus far. Without opportunities that the NARCH grant provides, we wouldn’t be able to conduct the health research that we do.”

The Black Hills Center for American Indian Health

For a list of our NARCH research projects, please visit the Research Projects page. For additional information regarding these projects, please contact our office at 605-348-6100.