Research Core


The Research Core of The Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR) involves new investigators from within the partnership. This includes Northern Arizona University (NAU), University of Arizona (UA), and Diné College, the core also emphases a harmonious partnership between the researcher and their methods with American Indian (AI) communities. The research core will provide CAIR with continuous research development, research design, and community-based research. As well as research development and design for the American Indian community health care and health research institutions.

Community Investigators

In 2013, The Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR) announced an opportunity for tribal and academic partners to explore the role of resilience in contributing to positive health outcomes in American Indian (AI) communities. The tribal partner must work for a tribe, native lead non-profit organization or urban Indian center. The academic partner must be affiliated with a US based college or university as a graduate student, post-doctoral student, appointed personnel or faculty.

CAIR selected and supported a cohort of partnerships for 1 year. These partnerships engaged in mentored personal career development as well as educational activities that will contribute to the national and local public health education associations, agencies and funding institutes that set policy and support activities that influence American Indian health.

Partners completed the following:

  • Design an independent community-based proposal for a project (such as a community intervention, manuscript of past collaborative efforts or planning activities to prepare for a grant application) that incorporates resilience and/or resilience promoting strategies in health promotion;
  • Work collaboratively with CAIR faculty to conceptualize and apply concepts of resilience in health; and
  • Develop and adhere to goals and milestones scheduled that yields a tangible outcome that is meaningful to both the community and university,
  • Review of resilience within the public health literature.
  • Development of a manuscript
  • Mentor support for the individual NAU and UA projects.

CAIR provided mentoring both face-to-face and via conference calls, and an annual required workshop. Mentoring included project planning, familiarity with external finding opportunities, application of mixed methods, strategies for collaborative grant writing, successful approaches to co-project administration, tribal approval procedures for activities engaging university partners, and ethics related to research, evaluation and results dissemination with American Indian communities.

Community Investigator Projects 2014, 2015, 2016

All community-university partnerships use an asset and resilience based approach to design collaborative health promotion projects and disseminate their outcomes in forums accessible to both American Indian communities and public health practitioners and researchers.  

Community Investigator Projects 2014

Title: Each One, Reach One: Hualapai Youth Radio Project

Partners:  Tara Chico, MPH (UA), Athena Crozier (Hualapai) and Miranda George (Hualapai)

Summary of project: This team will develop and submit a manuscript for a peer reviewed journal that describes outcomes of focus groups collected before and after the broadcast of a youth developed radio serial drama.  The team then proposes to develop two workshops that will focus on the lessons learned from the project and the community based participatory research (CBPR) approach used. Further plans include development of a grant proposal to support continued activity promoting youth health and resilience.


Title: Southwest Tribal Heart Mind Project

Partners:  Francine Gachupin, PhD (UA), Deborah Gustafson, PhD (SUNY), and Rita Jojola (Isleta Pueblo)

Summary of project: The goal of the Southwest Tribal Heart Mind Project is to understand aging and frailty in American Indian elders. Increased understanding within this area would help create ideas for future programs surrounding resilience in American Indian elders.  The team plans to share outcomes locally with the Isleta community and professionally through a peer-reviewed manuscript submission.


Title: Resilience and Culture through Sport

Partners:  Alisse Ali-Joseph, PhD (NAU) and Aaron Secakuku, Pathways Program (NACA)

Summary of project: This team will provide Native American youth in the Native American Community Action (NACA)’s Pathways Program, an opportunity to realize and foster their resilience through participation in “Healthy Nations Walk/Run” and a day-long event that promotes the role of physical activity in resilience.  The team will evaluate participants’ response to the event and disseminate outcomes at a community and/or practitioner based venue.  


Title: Resilience and Persistence Factors of American Indian and Alaskan Native Youth with Disabilities: Developing Healthy Social and Cultural Identities that Mitigates the Impact of Developmental Disparities

Partners:  Darold Joseph, MEd (NAU) and Kellen Polingyumptewa (Hopi)

Summary of project: This team will collect personal stories of resilience using the digital story medium.  Stories will be collected from American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) youth with disabilities pursuing higher education and will focus on the healthy development of cognitive, physical, and emotional identities.  The stories will be used as educational material for youth and their families developing strategies to effectively negotiate challenges of disabilities and career and personal development.


Title: Community Participation in Addressing Contaminated Traditional Foods and the Uranium Stakeholders Workshop

Partners:  Tommy Rock, MS (NAU), JoAnn Armenta, PhD (Forgotten People, Navajo) and Raymond Yellowman (Forgotten People, Navajo)

Summary of project: This team will encompass Navajo Nation Fundamental Law in working towards a solution for building a healthy environment for the Forgotten People.  The Forgotten People grassroots organization/coalition has been addressing environmental and social injustice in the former Bennett Freeze area of the Navajo Nation.  Members of the Forgotten People organization and Elders will attend the annual Uranium Stakeholders Workshop, an event through which five Federal Agencies update communities in the Navajo Nation on current status of uranium mining on the Nation.  Elders and other members of Forgotten People will be asked for their feedback on the experience; this information will used to support coalition efforts.  

Community Investigator Projects 2015

Title: Resilience and Culture through Sport

Partners: Alisse Ali-Joseph, PhD. (NAU), Aaron Sekakuku (Native American Community Action)

Project Goal: Provide Native American youth in the Pathways Program and from the surrounding reservations an opportunity to foster their resilience through physical activity at Northern Arizona University.


Title: Developing Resilience among an Inter-Tribal Cancer Survivor Group-A Return to Health

Partners: Cornelia Santos, PhD. (University of Colorado, Denver), Linda Burhansstipanov and Lisa Harjo (Native American Cancer Research Corporation)

Project Goal: Build resilience within an inter-tribal cancer survival group and to support positive health outcomes.


Title: Educational Program to Build Resilience for Caregivers, Family and Community Members in the Care of Elder Native Americans who are Experiencing Memory Loss and Cognitive Decline

Partners: Dorothy J. Dunn, PhD. (NAU), Linda A. Myers (Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program)

Project Goal: Partner with Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program during two scheduled Food Runs to provide an educational program to nurture resilience for caregivers and their Native Elder care recipients in a manner to maintain their traditional spirit and cultural lifestyle.


Title: Hualapai Prevention Intervention Program (HIPIP)

Partners: Zeenat Mahal (UA), Lyndee Hornell (Hualapai Tribe)

Project Goal: Reduce injury related morbidity and mortality due to elders’ falls and motor vehicle crashes among the tribal members in the Hualapai community.


Title: Hualapai Youth Resilience through Cultural Engagement

Partners: Amanda Urbina (UA), Emmeline Powskey (Hualapai Tribe), Nikieia Johnson (Hualapai Branch of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale

Project Goal: Develop a pilot curriculum to promote resilience through culture.  The long term goal is to connect youth with their cultural identity, an evidence based attribute of youth resilience and academic achievement.


Title: Resilience at Home: Community-Based Healthy Housing Intervention among American Indians

Partners: Lisa Hardy, PhD (NAU), Joe Seidenberg (Red Feather), Lorencita Joshweseoma (Hopi Tribe)

Project Goal: Use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach to build capacity for the education of tribal members regarding the link between their living environment and their family’s health, and provide them with affordable strategies to implement their own home health and safety repairs.

Community Investigator Projects 2016

Title: Academic-Community Partnership Come Together to Build Resilience for Navajo Caregivers of Elders who are Experiencing Forgetfulness

Partners: Dorothy J. Dunn, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, AHN-BC (NAU) and Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Project summary: Partner with the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program to provide an educational program that nurtures resilience of caregivers while maintaining the traditional spirit and cultural lifestyle of their Native Elder care recipients during scheduled food runs.


Title: Resilience at Home: Community-Based Healthy Housing Intervention among American Indians

Partners: Lisa Hardy, PhD (NAU) and Joe Seidenberg (Red Feather Development Group)

Project summary: Design and pilot a resilience-based training manual focused on home health assessment and remediation techniques for tribal residents living on tribal and non-tribal lands. Policy recommendations for home health will be developed through use of community-engagement techniques based to identify trends and incentives for remediation in local areas.


Title: Hopi Men's Health-Next Steps

Partners: Dirk de Heer, MPH, PhD (NAU) and Kellen Polingyumptewa (Hopi NACP)

Project summary: Barriers, opportunities and cultural factors will be explored with a special focus on resilience and strengths of cancer survivorship of men on the Hopi Nation. Recommendations will be developed to prioritize men’s health needs and promote utilization of health services among Hopi men on the Hopi Nation, while promoting strength and balance.


Title: Increasing Awareness of Heart Health in Native Americans in Northern Arizona

Partners: Mary Anne Reynolds, RN, PhD, ACNS-BC (NAU) and Norria M. Brice, RN, DNP, ACNP-BC (Navajo)

Project summary: The purpose of this project is to increase knowledge about risk factors associated with heart disease and early signs and symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) in Navajo persons living in and around Tuba City, Arizona on the Navajo reservation.