Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Disparities


The Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Disparities is a Center of Excellence sponsored by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54 MD000507). The Center has been continuously funded since 2003, but the focus of the Center differs with each funding cycle, as the health needs of the population change and as our methods to confront disparities evolve.

Programmatic components

Health Disparities Scholar Program

The Health Disparities Scholar Program provides financial, logistical, and scientific resources to support early-stage investigators preparing for a career in research. The program uses the scientific review process as a learning opportunity for interested junior investigators and integrates, coordinates, and centralizes research services that support these investigators.

Pilot Studies

The Center funds innovative Pilot Studies with meaningful implications for personalizing the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease in AI/AN communities. Two to three Center Pilot Studies are supported each year, depending upon available resources. In January 2021, two investigators were chosen and their studies are currently underway. 

Research projects

  • Longitudinal Study of MRI, Clinical, and Genetic Biomarkers of Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease in Elderly American Indians. This study draws on data from the Strong Heart Study and the ancillary Cerebrovascular Disease and its Consequences in American Indians (CDCAI) study to evaluate cognitive function, Alzheimer’s Disease risk factors, and MRI-defined biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease in elderly American Indians.
  • Addressing the Knowledge and Recruitment Gap in Alzheimer’s Disease Precision Medicine among Native People: A Randomized Controlled Trial. This study created culturally tailored materials on Alzheimer’s Disease and precision medicine and tests the effect of these materials on completion and enrollment through conducting a randomized controlled trial. Results will highlight communication strategies that facilitate or hinder AI/AN recruitment and elucidate knowledge gaps regarding Alzheimer’s Disease and precision medicine.

Previous funding cycles

Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health

Colorado School of Public Health

CU Anschutz

Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building

13055 East 17th Avenue

Mail Stop F800

Aurora, CO 80045

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