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Center for Alaska Native Health receives $11 million award

Submitted by Marie Gilbert
Phone: 907-474-7412


The Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks received a $10,998,857 million, five-year, Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence grant from the National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources in to continue biomedical research on obesity and associated chronic diseases among Alaska Natives.

Developed in partnership with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and in collaboration with community participants, CANHR scientists investigate weight, nutrition and health in Alaska Natives from genetic, dietary and cultural-behavioral perspectives.

"We want UAF to be a major partner in doing biomedical health related research with Alaska Natives," said Gerald Mohatt, CANHR director and UAF professor of psychology. "The work we do should inform policy and practice. It will give communities insights into the prevalence of diseases and identify both the protective and the risk factors for these chronic diseases."

CANHR scientists lead seven community-based participatory research projects which address diet and nutrition, cultural understandings of health, genetics of obesity, dietary biomarkers, stress and coping, contaminants in subsistence foods and cultural understanding of diabetes among Alaska Natives.

"Obesity is a common disease and what we learn from our Yup'ik study partners should be relevant to other populations," said Bert Boyer, CANHR co-director, leader of the genetics of obesity project and associate professor of molecular biology at UAF.

The center, part of the Institute of Arctic Biology at UAF, began in 2001 with an $11 million NIH COBRE grant. The new award, also a COBRE grant, is recognition of CANHR's previous research success and is designed to strengthen the center's biomedical research infrastructure and enhance the ability of center scientists to compete independently for complementary individual research grants from NIH and other peer-reviewed funding entities.

CONTACT: Gerald Mohatt, director, Center for Alaska Native Health Research, Institute of Arctic Biology, professor of psychology, UAF psychology department,907-474-7927, ffgvm@uaf.edu.

Marie Gilbert, public information officer, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 907-474-7412, marie.gilbert@uaf.edu.